(l-r) The Stand owners, Skip Sandels, Lisa and Mike Palmer, and manager Ryan Palmer cut the ribbon to open the new playground.

On Saturday, September 13, The Stand Coneys & Ice Cream on Bluffton Road opened a new playground. However, to the Palmer family, employees, and friends of The Stand, this wasn’t just any playground installation, it was built with care, love and in memory of LeighAnn Marie Palmer.

“It was a blessing to be surrounded by friends and family to welcome the LeighAnn Marie Palmer Playground to its new home at The Stand. We hope everyone with little kids finds enjoyment in having it here now.” The Stand posted on their Facebook Page with pictures of the ribbon cutting ceremony and blessing.

On May 28, 1995, LeighAnn Marie Palmer’s life came to a tragic end when she accidentally drowned at Avalon Pool. LeighAnn was born on June 24, 1991 to Mike and Lisa Palmer and at the time she had two older brothers, Ryan and Zach.

One of Mike and Lisa’s greatest fears was people forgetting they had a daughter. To ensure LeighAnn’s beautiful life was remembered, the Palmer’s worked to establish a memorial at Avalon Pool. In 1999 family and friends worked to raise the necessary funds to build the memorial, which would come to be in the form a playground on her ninth birthday, June 24, 2000.

They also established the LeighAnn Marie Palmer Foundation in 1996. The foundation hosted an annual golf outing for 15 years (until LeighAnn would have graduated high school) and raised over $10,000 each year for scholarships at St. Therese Catholic School for an 8th grade girl who would be attending Bishop Luers and for a Senior cheerleader at Bishop Luers to help with her college tuition.

Sadly, in January 2020, Avalon Pool announced they were closing. The Palmer family (which added Matt in 1997 and Mick in 1998) did not want to see the playground torn down. Their solution was to move the playground to The Stand Coneys & Ice Cream, off Bluffton Road, next to Bobick’s Golf. The Stand is co-owned by the Palmer’s and Skip Sandels.

To continue the foundation and maintain LeighAnn’s memorial, the foundation decided to host a famous LeighAnn Marie Palmer golf outing. The support received was able to financially support the move of the playground and continue to handout scholarships.

The Palmer family is thrilled to have the playground at its new “home,” The Stand. They are also so excited about how many children will be able to enjoy it and get to remember LeighAnn for years to come!

The Waynedale News Staff
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