Lawrence, center, and members of Cub Scout Pack 63 (along with a couple of friends) at Westport.
It's amazing to see how much more advanced kids are than we were. Take, for example my son and his friends.
Lawrence was recently watching television and saw some of the devastation that was happening in Indiana from a rash of tornadoes. He turned to his mother and said he wanted to help.
The way he helped was through Cub Scouts. Lawrence went to the members of his Pack, 63, which is made up of kids from Westport and Elizabethtown-Lewis Central Schools, to put together a bottle drive fundraiser. They also collected linens and other items that were needed.
Lawrence spoke with members of the March2Recovery group, a coalition of non-profits and emergency agencies, to find out what they needed and how to help. Even though my wife and I serve as the assistant and Scoutmaster in the pack, we sat back and let him do the planning, which included using our church to make contacts with the group in Indiana.
On the final two Saturdays of March, Lawrence, members of the Cub Scouts and parents of Scouts spent four hours each day going door-to-door and holding posters on the roadside seeking donations. Overall, they collected 10,000-plus bottles (a total of $855 in monetary and bottle donations) and 10 or so boxes of linens and other needed items.
After seeing the hard work that was put into the project, we felt that there was only one appropriate ending to the story, and that was to have Lawrence deliver the donations himself to Jeffersonville, Ind.
On Wednesday, April 4, we piled into the van and headed out, reaching our destination mid-day. Once there, Lawrence was given a tour of the large warehouse being used as a headquarters for March2Recovery, followed by a trip to the organization’s meeting, where he presented the monetary donation to them.
Lawrence got a chance to go into the town of Henryville, where he saw the tornado damage. Our "tour guide" took us to the center of the town and watched as workers were trying to put the high school back together after the tornado split the building in half.
He also saw the path of the tornado, where trees had been completely picked up and thrown back to the ground, houses with no roofs remaining or concrete blocks that used to be where houses were located. We were all amazed at how you could have two houses located next to each other: one completely destroyed and the next with what could be considered "minor" damage to the roof (no roof repair is minor, but at least the roof and the house were still standing).
Overall, it was an eye-opening trip for our entire family.
This was all done because a 9-year-old boy cared about something more than video games or what he needed in his life. He was then able to enlist the help of others who wanted to contribute. He had the support of his parents, his fellow Cub Scouts and his community. Most of all, he worked hard to accomplish the goals that he set out to attain. Lawrence far surpassed his original goal of $500.
Thank you to all who donated to this cause, and thanks to the Cub Scouts who worked hard to accomplish the goal.
And of course, to Lawrence, I am extremely proud of you. Great job.
Keith Lobdell is the editor of the Valley News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.