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Model Ashley Callingbull of the Enoch Cree Nation created a new digital poppy to honour her great-grandfather, Pte. Maxime Papin, who fought for Canada during the Second World War. The Royal Canadian Legion launched a new digital poppy campaign on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018 allowing Canadians to create and personalize a digital poppy to share on social media. Indigenous model Ashley Callingbull, from Enoch Cree Nation west of Edmonton, didn’t know much about her great-grandfather from Alberta involved in the Second World War.

Through ancestry.ca, the 2015 Mrs. Universe winner recently discovered her great-grandfather Maxime Papin was a highly-decorated Indigenous soldier who fought overseas in the Canadian military. Papin received the 1939-1945 Star, the War Medal and the Italy Star for serving in the Italian Campaign during the final two years of the war.

“It was a wonderful way for me to reconnect and learn more about our history and my family,” Callingbull said Thursday. “It makes me really proud that my great-grandfather was a hero.”

Callingbull will be spreading the story of her great-grandfather and other Indigenous-Canadian veterans through a new digital poppy campaign allowing Canadians to buy a poppy and share it online through social media.

The new digital poppy launched Friday as part of the Royal Canadian Legion’s poppy campaign will provide an alternate way for Canadians to remember and also personalize and dedicate their poppy to a specific veteran. Legion deputy director Danny Martin said this new poppy will better engage youth to honour veterans in this digital age.

“In order to communicate especially to the group of millennials and younger, the Legion thought it was important to introduce the digital poppy to allow this group of individuals … to express themselves in regards to veteran support as well as the remembrance aspect,” Martin said.

All Canadians can go to mypoppy.ca and purchase a digital two-sided representation of the Remembrance Day flower that can then be shared across several social media platforms and used as profile images. The online method also eliminates the dilemma of not carrying cash to purchase a traditional lapel poppy.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea because we live in such a cashless society today,” Callingbull said. Donations for digital poppies are accepted by Visa and Mastercard and will be sent to the Legion branch closest to the donor’s address to support veterans and their families.

Callingbull is one of several prominent Canadian figures leading by example in the social media campaign that runs until Nov. 11, which Martin said is an important aspect of engaging youth.

“Our educational system doesn’t provide adequate background knowledge on the sacrifices made by our veterans over the last century,” Martin said. “So the remembrance aspect and … the learning curve being supported by these celebrities is phenomenal.” Play Video

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