Poppy Campaign underway in Lacombe
John Mellon of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 79 pins the symbolic first poppy to City of Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey as Poppy Fund Chair Barbara Burnett watches on Friday morning at Lacombe City Hall. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
The Lacombe Legion Branch No. 79’s largest fundraiser of the year officially kicked off Friday, Oct. 27.
Newly elected City of Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey was presented with the first poppy given in the city by Legion member John Mellon, and Poppy Fund Chair Barbara Burnett.
“It’s an honour to receive this symbolic first poppy on behalf of council and the people of Lacombe,” Creasey said. “It’s a well respected visual reminder of all those who sacrificed on our behalf and I wear it with pride.
“I’m honoured to wear one and I hope everyone purchases at least one, hopefully a few and wear them each and every day with pride.”
The National Poppy Campaign was adopted in 1921 by the Great War Veterans’ Association, which preceded the Royal Canadian Legion. Over 20 million poppies are distributed every year, the first of which is given to the leader of communities across the country.
In Lacombe, it’s followed by the delivering of poppy trays to local businesses not only within Lacombe, but to the neighbouring communities of Clive, Bentley and Blackfalds who no longer have legions.
The funds are always put back into the community in some form, according to Burnett, whether it’s to veterans or youth. Previously, they’ve donated to the Ponoka Air Cadets and other local groups in the area.
Overall, support and awareness in the community has grown with the increase in businesses and a rising population.
“Over the last few years, we’ve really taught the people to remember. If it wasn’t for our veterans and farmers, Canada would not be in a good state,” she said.
“It’s kind of sad because our veterans are very few. They should’ve been remembered more after the ways. Today, I think the teachers are now hopefully teaching that without veterans, we would not be free.”
She was a little disheartened, however, that some businesses in Lacombe will not accept poppy trays. While she wasn’t sure of the reasoning, she suggested it might be theft, which has been a problem in past years. Still, those looking to purchase one can find them at most businesses, including grocery stores, as well as the Lacombe Globe office.
Nationwide chains like Dollarama have policies in place that prohibit unmanned donation trays anywhere in their stores, however, they’re not always firm with the policy.
Poppies - a red flower with a black centre - are recognized as the national symbol of remembrance for 117,000 Canadians who gave their lives while serving in the military.
For more information on the poppy campaign, visit www.legion.ca/poppy.