How do you sell
That was the challenge The
The answer was an ingenious solution that benefited the Disabled War Veterans Association of Finland. This association served a critical need in the immediate aftermath of WWII, as approximately 95,000 permanently disabled veterans in the country needed care. Even today, the organization cares for almost 5,000 veterans and their spouses.
J.F.C Westerman ran the Holland Branch of The
The company agreed to donate 20,000 cases of
In a letter dated May 5, 1952, the Disabled Veterans Association and The
The next step was transportation. The Dutch Company chartered the 750-ton transport ship MARVIC to transport the materials and remain in Helsinki harbor as a floating stockroom. The MARVIC had its own connection to WWI; the vessel was originally a landing craft used in the Normandy invasion. After that, she was rebuilt as a transport ship and, on July 1, 1952, pulled into Helsinki harbor, a few weeks before Opening Ceremonies on July 19.
At this point, the company began to assist the War Association as it began to apply its own “muscle.” The association constructed 36 portable sales kiosks, hired a local sales and stock force and began to prepare for the arrival of the athletes and visitors. A sales school was set up in Helsinki, and the newly hired sales force was trained by Leonce Pacheny of the Paris office and H.F. Gangsted of the Norway office. Many of the advertising signs were given a special message noting “
Everything was set. All that was missing were the crowds, but as Opening Ceremonies approached, Finland beamed with pride as Paavo Nurmi, nine-time Gold medalwinner and one of the country's greatest athletes lit the Olympic Flame. With that, the Games were on.
The Veterans Association did a tremendous job with the venues, staffing refreshment pavilions at venues and setting up kiosks along traveled routes and in remote arenas. Every night, the coolers were restocked with ice and bottles of
As the Games ended on Aug. 3, both sides considered the partnership a success. The Finnish Disabled War Veterans Association used the money raised to buy a building in downtown Helsinki, consolidating five offices spread across the country.
The story would have ended there, but the association has continued to keep it alive in Finland with special plaques and storytelling. In 2013, a group from the Finnish Disabled War Veterans Association, the Consul General of Finland and several Finnish businessmen visited
Ted Ryan is director of heritage communications at The
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