In the spirit of volunteerism here on the blog, I’ve been on a hunt for kids who serve. I haven’t had to look far—in my state I’m surrounded by them! Today’s focus is Braxton Lee, a second grader whose feet just don’t want to stop moving. He has run nine 5K races over the past few months. What motivates a little kid to run these distances when the temperature reaches 100 and the humidity hangs like fog?
Unfortunately, Braxton’s motivation began with a tragedy. After Virginia State Trooper Chad Dermyer was killed in a shooting, Braxton saw a sign advertising a fund raiser for the officer’s wife and two children. He had participated in races at his school and with his mother to raise money for a variety of causes, so Braxton decided he could run to raise money for the trooper’s family.
Not only did he run nine races to make a marathon distance, but he organized the last one with the help of his parents and Point 2 Running and Flat Out Events. The company donated all their time and resources to the cause as well. Braxton even designed the medal for the finishers in the last race.
Colonel Flaherty of Virginia State Police was happy to welcome Braxton at VSP Headquarters in Richmond and present him with a certificate of appreciation last August. Braxton, in turn, presented him with a medal from his last race and some of his artwork.
Braxton’s artwork sums up the reason for his hard work. He writes, “The gift I give the world is to run for people who can’t run.”
Braxton’s parents are proud of his accomplishments. When asked how they keep their little boy motivated, his father, Jarret, said, “We have always pointed out that there are people going through worse times than our family, and we try to relate it to what it could be like if those things happened to our family.”
When it comes to community service, Lee and his wife practice what they preach. They both participate in area fundraising efforts, and Lee campaigned for and won a seat on the county’s school board. Lee volunteers regularly at Braxton’s school.
“We believe that by using resources that you have and motivating others to do the same, you could really build something important,” Lee said. Ironically, Braxton’s fundraising efforts really have built something amazing. Point 2 Running and Flat Out Events has chosen him as a brand ambassador. He runs with their group twice per week and will participate in races with the team.
In October, Braxton will turn his fundraising efforts in a different direction as he participates in Shane’s Shuffle in Mechanicsville. This run benefits Fisher House and helps set up a new scholarship in honor of Captain Shane T. Adcock, a family friend who was killed in action while deployed in Iraq ten years ago.
“We press how important it is to respect others and truly care about them with no expectations in return because someday you may need someone to care for or help you,” said Lee.
Braxton has obviously taken his parents’ “pay-it-forward” philosophy to heart. He is also proven the point that age is not a factor when it comes to making a difference.
“Everyone has something to offer,” Lee said. “You just have to figure out what it is.”
This post is linked to the Best of the Blogosphere.