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Date of Issue: October 11, 2007

AME readies to walk 'Lannon's Way'

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Honoring Lannon
  • 2 p.m. Oct. 18 dedication of Lannon's Way at AME.
  • 5-7 p.m. Oct. 18 spaghetti fundraising dinner at AME cafeteria.
  • 9 a.m. Oct. 19 Officer Pete Lannon Skate Park naming at Holmes Beach City Hall/skate park.

The community is invited to celebrate the contributions Holmes Beach Police Officer Pete Lannon made during his years as Anna Maria Elementary School’s resource officer at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18. Lannon died June 1 from pancreatic cancer, and this event marks an opportunity for students and staff to gather in his honor.

Members of the school staff, HBPD and the Island community joined together to plan and create lasting memories of the widely popular officer that will provide closure for students and memorialize the ideals and beliefs for which Lannon stood — honor, respect and honesty.

A memorial sidewalk leading from the crosswalk that was so diligently guarded by Lannon to the front entrance of the school is planned, and it will be named and marked by the street sign “Lannon’s Way.”

AME principal Tom Levengood said the naming of the walkway is significant because it serves as a reminder of Lannon’s mentorship and that if you follow the character building principles he taught, you’ll be going the right way. Levengood stated simply, “Lannon’s Way is the right way.”

Levengood said there are several meaningful projects that will highlight Lannon’s Way. The walkway will begin at a bench — created by Levengood — using stained-glass depicting the Superman logo — Lannon’s hero — and the pavers in front of the bench will also mimic the Superman theme.

One of Lannon’s favorite activities was scuba diving and, shortly before his death, he began crafting bells from empty dive tanks. His oldest son, Pete Jr., plans to complete a bell that was unfinished and it will hang from a post along the walkway.

A wooden arbor will be erected near the bench and crosswalk, where vines and plants will eventually grow. Nearby the Parent-Teacher Organization will dedicate a red cedar tree students will be able to decorate for various holidays — a task that was another of Lannon’s favorites.

Levengood expects these projects to be unveiled at the Oct. 18 event, which he noted Pete’s family plans to attend.

There are a few other enhancements, such as student crafted stepping-stones and character building pillars that Levengood said may be added throughout the year.

Following the dedication celebration, there will be a spaghetti dinner starting at 5 p.m. in the school cafeteria provided courtesy of Beach Bistro and Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant. The cost of the dinner will be $9 for adults and $6 for kids under age 10.

Included with dinner will be a Pete Lannon silicone bracelet, although the quantity is limited. The bracelets are part of a fundraiser that was initiated by The Islander newspaper with proceeds going to a pre-paid college fund for Lannon’s youngest son, Matthew. Proceeds from the dinner will be used to offset some costs and the balance will be donated to Matthew’s college fund.

On Oct. 19, the city of Holmes Beach will celebrate Pete Lannon’s service to the city and school with the official naming of the skate park for Lannon at a 9 a.m. ceremony at the park. Police Chief Jay Romine will welcome city officials and members of the department to that event and, of course, since there is no school that day, skateboarders are invited to show off their skills.

AME teachers and staff will be busy working at the school, but they plan to trolley to the park for the official opening there.