Junior Miss Poppy LeeAnna Quick and Senior Miss Poppy Kaytlyn Tomassi accept a donation from City Councilman Daniel Galeski (center front) at the Wyandotte City Council meeting Monday (May 10). They present the first poppies to council members to help launch American Legion Post 217’s annual Poppy Days, which will be held Friday to Saturday this year.
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – American Legion Post 217 Auxiliary had the City Council seeing red Monday night – poppy red.
Auxiliary members as well as the local Junior and Senior Miss Poppy Queens presented the first poppies to Mayor Joseph Peterson and the council to begin its Poppy Days, which will run Thursday through Saturday throughout the city.
Poppies were adopted by the auxiliary in 1921 as its memorial flower. Members say they are not sold, but instead are given to those who make a contribution to the veterans organization.
The poppies are made by veterans to support the physical and psychological therapy needed by hospitalized and disabled veterans. Poppy Days proceeds benefit servicemen and their families.
Post 217 Senior Miss Poppy is Kaytlyn Tomassi; the Junior Miss Poppy is LeeAnna Quick.
Kaytlyn is a 14-year-old freshman at Roosevelt High School. She plays the flute in the Wyandotte Chiefs marching band and sings in the A Capella Choir. She is the daughter of Janice Quick of Wyandotte and Eric Tomassi of Cleveland, a Marine veteran.
LeeAnna is a 6-year-old kindergarten student at Monroe Elementary, where she is a member of Daisy Girl Scout Troop 2958. She is the daughter of Janice and Mike Quick of Wyandotte. Her father is a Navy veteran.
Both girls are students at the Beverly Morrison School of Dance, 1518 Ford Ave. in Wyandotte.
The girls are fifth-generation members of the unit. Their mother and aunt served as Junior Miss Poppy before them. Their grandmother, Beverly Lapinski, is a past president of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 217. Their great-grandmother served as unit president and their great-great grandmother was a gold star mother.
Poppies grew wild amid the destruction of the battlefields of World War I. The overturned soil allowed the poppy seeds to grow.
The flower’s red color serves as a reminder of the blood that was shed by U.S. armed forces in that war and others around the world.
The American Legion, founded in 1919, is a congressionally chartered mutual aid veterans’ organization of the U.S. Armed Forces. It is involved in commemorative events, volunteer veteran support activities and U.S. politics, lobbying for veterans’ benefits, pensions, hospitals and other general issues.