Kitchener man makes wooden poppy pins to thank local legion

A Kitchener man has made 150 wooden poppy pins that he’s selling and donating the proceeds to the legion where he has been a long time member.

Mike Cassidy says he wanted to do a 'little bit of a special thing' for the Fred Gies Branch 50

A before-and-after look at the poppy pins Mike Cassidy of Kitchener, Ont. has made at the Kitchener Waterloo Woodworking and Craft Centre. He sells them for $5 and is donating the proceeds to the Fred Gies Branch 50 of the Royal Canadian Legion on Belmont Ave. in Kitchener. (Joe Pavia/CBC)

A Kitchener, Ont. man has crafted 150 wooden poppy pins to be sold, with all of the proceeds going to the Royal Canadian Legion branch where he is a long time member.

Mike Cassidy said he wanted to do a "little bit of a special thing" for the Legion's Fred Gies Branch 50, to note the 100th anniversary of the signing of the First World War armistice.

"[It's] a thank you [to the Legion] for allowing me to be a member," said Cassidy. " I do it because I want to do it and I enjoy doing it."

Proceeds will be used by the branch on Belmont Ave. for maintenance or special projects. 

Mike Cassidy says the guys at the Woodworking club figure he has made 45,000 pins in the last ten years. (Joe Pavia/CBC)

'Selling them anywhere people will buy them'

Cassidy crafts the poppies — which he's selling for $5 — at the Kitchener-Waterloo Woodworking and Craft Centre on Ottawa Street. A pattern was designed at the woodworking location that evokes the design of the familiar poppy stickers the Legion distributes.

He sells them to people he encounters at area restaurants, coffee shops and at the legion.

"[I sell them] anywhere that people will buy them," said Cassidy.

Cassidy will also be outside a local grocery store in Kitchener where he'll sell traditional poppies for the legion.

Cassidy was a member of the Canadian Army. While he was with the Armed Forces he served with members of military who helped people across the country during flood and storm disasters.  

A sample of some of the other wooden pins Mike Cassidy has made at the woodworking centre in Kitchener. He says the maple leaf pin with the heart in the centre, (top row) is his most popular pin. (Joe Pavia/CBC)

Keeping count of the pins

This isn't his first woodworking project making pins. His most popular, a maple leaf with a heart in the centre and the message "I love Canada" has been distributed around the world.

"The guys in the club figure in ten years that I've been making them I've made 45,000 of them," said Cassidy. "And they've gone to China, Australia, Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia. When the boys were going  to Afghanistan if I knew anybody going I sent them 50 pins."

The Remembrance Day poppy project isn't the end of his endeavours this autumn: his next woodworking venture is the crafting of 500 wooden stars for an event at  the Doon Pioneer Village in December.