FIRST POPPY - Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey received the ceremonial first poppy from Legion member John Mellon. Legion Poppy Fund Chair Barbara Burnett was also in attendance for the event. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Lacombe Legion launches poppy campaign

Mayor Grant Creasey accepts Legion’s first poppy during ceremony Friday

The Lacombe Legion Branch #79 began their season of honouring Canadian veterans when they awarded Mayor Grant Creasey with the ceremonial first poppy.

“It is an honour to receive the symbolic first poppy on behalf of council and the people of Lacombe,” he said. “It is a well-respected visual reminder of all those who sacrificed on our behalf and I wear it with pride.”

Barbara Burnett, Legion poppy chair, said the poppy to the mayor kicks off their campaign, which is followed by delivering poppies out to businesses throughout the community where they can be purchased. Funds from the campaign go to support veterans and their families in the region.

“The Poppy Fund is in the Legion’s trust and it belongs to the community,” she said. “It goes to veterans, youth and four to five other places. All grocery stores and every business on the west side and many of them on the east side.”

Burnett said some business in the community do not want to have the poppies in their stores. She speculates this could likely be due to theft, which has been an issue in recent years.

Awareness and support has been growing in Lacombe in the past number of years.

“It is increasing because Lacombe has more businesses now,” Burnett said. “In the last few years, we have really taught the people to remember. If it wasn’t for our veterans and farmers, Canada would be not in a good state.

“Our veterans are now very few and they should be remembered more. I think teachers today are now hopefully teaching that without veterans, we wouldn’t be free.”

Creasey hopes the people of Lacombe continue to support this campaign.

“The National Poppy Campaign is certainly an important one to both raise awareness and to raise funds for veterans and their families,” he said. “I am honoured to wear one and I hope everyone purchases at least one – hopefully a few. I hope they wear them each and everyday with pride.”

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