FAIRBORN — The Fairborn American Legion Auxiliary crowns Emma Coolman as the 2014 Miss Poppy during their 54th annual reception on Sunday, May 4.
The contest this year was revamped to include kindergarten and first graders to broaden the scope of contestants and enable the winner to have a Miss Poppy Court. The reception was also revamped to involve the Post Past Commanders and all family members, male and female.
“The Auxiliary recognized that the family dynamics have changed through the years and it’s not always mothers nurturing children,” said Unit President Pam Bates. “It is often other family members, as well as single parents, hence it is no longer named Mother/Daughter Banquet but Miss Poppy Crowning Reception.”
The guest speaker for the reception was Lt Col Jenny Wedel. Currently Col Wedel is a Civilian Contractor for the Air Force Reserve Command Psychological Health Advocacy Program and still serving in the 445 Air Lift Wing Aeromedical Staging Unit as Director of Training and Readiness Flight as a traditional Reservist. She delighted and enlightened the crowd with stories of her experiences as a mother in a military world.
During the program, Post Commander Charles Knaub, Jr. shared the Poppy story; Past Post 526 Commanders George Copfer & Jack Reed read “Flanders’ Fields” and “America’s Answer to Flanders’ Fields,” and Sons of the American Legion Bob Marsh read a poem about veterans and what they have fought for. Mayor Kirkpatrick read a proclamation encouraging the citizens of Fairborn to support Saturday, May 17 as Poppy Day in the community by donating to the many Legion family volunteers that will be out.
The finale of this reception was the crowning of the 2014-2015 Miss Poppy, Emma Coolman. She is the daughter of Tsgt. and Mrs. Rich Coolman of Fairborn, and is a first grader at Fairborn Primary School. She has been a cheerleader for the Fairborn Wee Hawks football organization for two years and for the Fairborn Skyhawk Youth basketball program for one year. She is an active member of the Children’s ministry at Fairborn United Methodist Church.
Coolman’s duties as Miss Poppy will to help volunteers collect donations on May 17, Armed Forces Day for the Unit’s veterans program, to participate at the Memorial Day services at Fairfield Cemetery and ride in the July 4th parade.
Miss Poppy’s Court was made up of Morgann Trimble, daughter of Carrie Marcum and Jeff Trimble of Fairborn. She is five years old and a kindergartner at Wright Campus in Fairborn. She participates in AAYA Cheer and attends B&B gymnastics. Another member of the Miss Poppy Court was Lilly Watson, daughter of Dani Norwood and Michael Watson of Fairborn, who is six years old and loves jumping on the trampoline. She just learned to ride her bike without training wheels and rides a lot now.
The Miss Poppy Court will accompany Miss Poppy on Poppy Day; the Memorial Day Services and ride in the July 4 parade. They were not able to be with us at the crowning due to illness.
A big thank you from Bates was given to the Legion Commander and Legion for providing the Auxiliary with the banquet center and preparing the food for the social following the program; the Sons of the American Legion for setting up and providing funds to assist in purchasing some Miss Poppy items; Sherry McDonald for co-chairing the Poppy Program; the judges, Stacy Leggett, Katie Lewellan, Gail Panzer, Marsha Smart and Carrie Bir; Shelley Dunkleberg who acted as Miss Poppy contestant greeter; Shwartz Jewelry for providing the engraving andchain for the Miss Poppy Charm; Jeni and Clay Bates for making the sash; Tammy Bellows for making the Miss Poppy Court ribbons, and Jan Kingston for donating to gift baskets for the guest speaker and raffle.
“The American Legion Auxiliary volunteers hope to see you out on Poppy Day, May 17,” Bates said. “Donations go into the American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Fund which assists our veterans at the Dayton Veterans Hospital and the WPAFB Fischer Houses.”
This small paper flower is made by veterans at the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky. To make a donation, drop it by 526 Legion Lane. For more information on the Poppy Program or to volunteer to assist on Poppy Days, contact Pam Bates at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-864-5909.