CLAY COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Sometimes the biggest treasures truly do come in the smallest packages!
That’s the case with this month’s ‘Make a Difference’ winner and we surprised an 8-year-old in Clay County; honoring him for his selfless attitude early on.
Nestled in the woods in Carbon, Ind. you’ll find a true taste of Americana. The lazy farm dog on a hot, summer day, chickens roaming the lot and a large American flag proudly flapping in the wind.
You’ll also find 8-year-old AJ Perkins.
He’s a typical kid who loves to play baseball, loves the outdoors and fishing and he’s quick to tell us about his accomplishments in the sporting world.
But this Van Buren Elementary 3rd grader is pretty shy when you ask him about his biggest accomplishment…helping veterans.
“I just asked people to give me money for my birthday instead of presents to give to disabled American Veterans,” AJ told News 10.
AJ’s project started last year when for his birthday he asked for donations to give to the DAV.
He got $1,200.
Then this year, he did a fundraiser at the new Texas Roadhouse in Terre Haute and got $3,900! In all, little AJ Perkins donated more than $5,000!
“I’m thrilled. I mean to have an 8-year-old that cares about others, instead of just sitting in their room playing games or whatever he’s trying to think in his head how he can help other people better their lives,” said AJ’s dad, Adam.
AJ’s motivation is his dad as Adam is a Veteran and know how the DAV can help.
“9-11-2001 was my 18th birthday. I went and joined the army. I got in in 2002,” Adam explained.
A year-long deployment to Iraq left Adam with partial hearing loss and tendentious. Doctors also diagnosed him with PTSD.
Adam knows the organization is there for disabled veterans when they need it.
“I hope it actually inspires other kids to try and do the same,” Adam said. “It doesn’t matter if its $5 or $10 but that $10 dollars might buy a blanket for a guy that’s freezing, ya know.”
The money AJ raised went toward a new van for patients. Transportation that could prove lifesaving.
“Gonna transport troops that need a ride or cannot walk go to their house, pick them up and take to office visits so they get the proper care they deserve.”
At this quaint spot in Clay County, patriotism runs deep. AJ knows the sacrifice his dad and others made and on certain occasions you’ll find the entire family paying respect to the American flag.
Saluting our veterans, trying in at least one small way, to make a difference.
If you’d like to contribute to the fundraiser you can mail a check or money order to DAV 2439 W. 16th St. Indianapolis, IN 46222 and write AJ’s name on the memo line!