Boy’s grant to help local veterans, familiesPublished 5:20pm Wednesday, October 26, 2011
By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer
A 16-year-old high school student recently won a $1,000 grant to help organize an event to honor veterans and their families.
Cody Heron, a student at St. Clair High School, got the 9/11 Remembrance Grant through dosomething.org. With help from several non-profit groups, he’s organized a Family Fun Day for veterans and their families Nov. 5 at Wilsonville’s Spirit of Hope Youth Ranch.
“I was utterly shocked,” Heron said of winning the grant in September.
Heron applied for the grant in August. He said his dad, Daniel Heron, a 21-year Navy veteran, served as inspiration.
“I always thought my dad was a hero, because he put his life on the line for 21 years serving his country,” Cody Heron said. “He put his life on the line to make sure that people like me and you can sleep well at night.”
The Dream Peace Foundation, Operation Military Kids and 4-H Youth Development are providing additional funding and support for Family Fun Day.
Jenny Camp, the executive director of the Dream Peace Foundation, encouraged Heron to apply for the grant.
“We’re so impressed with Cody,” Camp said. “We’re really excited that he’s taken the initiative to write this grant and reinvest into his community. It shows a lot of leadership and initiative on his part.”
Heron said doing so was a huge step for him. He has Asperger’s syndrome, a type of autism that causes trouble with social interaction, among other things.
He said the first 10 years of his life were “so bad” that he didn’t talk to anyone and never made eye contact.
“I was the quiet kid that sat in the class, did his work and went his merry way,” Heron said.
Winning the grant was more proof of his abilities, Heron said.
Stacy Hallman, his mom, agreed.
“It proves that any child or any teenager who says ‘I have a disability and can’t do it’ – that’s not an excuse,” Hallman said. “You can do it. My son did it. He overcame all those obstacles to win this grant. Words just can’t describe it.”
To register for Family Fun Day, contact Camp at 937-8651 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to view Heron’s winning grant proposal.