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Date of Issue: September 13, 2007

Lannon to be remembered

Holmes Beach Police Officer Pete Lannon
Holmes Beach Police Officer Pete Lannon

Holmes Beach Police Officer Pete Lannon will not soon be forgotten. He was given a grand sendoff by family, the city, the community and children and adults associated with the Anna Maria Elementary School when he died June 1, but now he will receive honors from the city and the school.

The two entities, the police department and the school, are joining together to present lasting memorials to Lannon - the naming of the skatepark initiated by the HBPD and the creation of a dedicated crosswalk and path to the school for all who come there, Lannon’s Way.

A committee of interested parties met last week at the school to discuss planning events surrounding the memorials, and tentatively set Oct. 18-19 aside as the preferred days. The school presentation will take place Thursday, Oct. 18, and with students out of school on Friday, an event at the skatepark will take place with city officials and, hopefully, plenty of skateboarders in attendance.

The school plan, according to principal Tom Levengood, will include the planting of a red cedar tree by the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization near the crosswalk that Lannon guarded faithfully in his tenure at AME.

It will suit his passion for the Christmas holiday, he indicated in relaying information from PTO president Joy Murphy, and counselor Cindi Harrison suggested it could be decorated for various holidays by students. “Pete would have liked that.”

Also in the plans are paver bricks between the existing crosswalk and the sidewalk in front of the school, hopefully including a “Superman” logo, and a concrete walkway connecting that location to the school’s existing covered walkway, to be named Lannon’s Way.

Levengood plans to use his artistic skills to embellish a stone bench with decorative cut-glass, including a Superman logo. The bench will be placed in an arbor that will be installed beside the crosswalk and will provide a resting area for crossing guards, and students will be able to plant flowering vines to grow over the trellis.

Organizers hope the new walkway will include inset “stepping stones” created by students at AME to recognize their emotional ties to the police counselor, leader of the school’s DARE program.

Harrison said that because Lannon died during summer break, it will be good for the students who knew him to have a chance to honor him. “It’s OK to be sad,” she said.

The students will learn this along with their knowledge and valuable lessons gained from Lannon. Second- through fifth-grade students knew Lannon well - as did the community.

The skatepark naming will include a new sign for the park and rededication to the two families that donated the funds for the park, the Hagens and Hardys.

A schedule and more details on “Lannon’s Day” are forthcoming. For information, call Levengood at 941-708-5525.