Hamilton senior Logan Pickett among 2024 ‘Student Heroes of Character’

He has been providing kids with Christmas gifts since first grade

Logan Pickett, recently named among the 2024 “Student Heroes of Character,” has provided children in Hamilton with Christmas gifts since he was in first grade.

He and six other students from the district will be honored through the Heroes of Character program.

“What’s amazing is this is the same award he received 10 years ago as an 8-year-old,” said Linda Pickett, Logan’s grandmother.

Pickett is among 11 students and 21 adults who will be honored at the Greater Cincinnati Character Council’s “Be the Change” Celebration on April 11 at the Delta Marriott in Sharonville.

The event is in collaboration with Hamilton’s City of Character Coalition. Both organizations foster character development as a means to success.

Pickett, now a senior, has often used his own money as well as funds he’s raised to purchase the gifts, which have been distributed to inner city kids in need at the Hamilton Dream Center, 725 Campbell Ave. Since Logan will graduate soon, this may be his last year for handing out the Christmas gifts.

“He is genuinely an amazing young man since the day he was born … He’s my angel on Earth,” said Linda Pickett.

She said Logan raises funds by making crafts and selling them, by having yard sales or setting up lemonade stands. Neighbors also donate yard sale items, and Logan will turn around and sell the items to raise money to buy the gifts. Community members have also donated candy for the treat bags.

On average, he raises enough money to provide gifts for at least 50 kids. Prior to COVID, there was one year they had close to 150 kids, and several years, he had planned for more than 100.

The grandmother explained how it started when Logan saw a woman on TV, crying because of a tornado in Kentucky.

“He asked me why she was crying, and I explained that there was a bad storm, and it took all of her things,” she said. “I was keeping it simple for a 5-year-old, and I said she lost her toothbrush, her hairbrush and things like that.”

“Before I knew it, he had a shoebox, and inside was my comb, my toothbrush and he said ‘Mamaw, this lady needs these things, we have to go take it to her,’ ... That’s what started it,” Linda Pickett said.

“I woke up one morning, heard the news on, and I heard this woman crying, and I wanted to help,” said Logan Pickett.

At that time, he raised $600, and made 40 boxes of toiletries that were donated to the Red Cross.

That same year, Logan asked if he could help other people and buy Christmas presents for them.

“That’s when they had Angel Tree, and I told him we could pull an angel off of the tree,” Linda Pickett said.

Logan wanted to help more than just one person. She said he would have to help raise the money.

“He’s always just been that way. It’s a way of life for us. You help others when you can,” she said.

For the past three or four years, Logan has raised about $750 to $1,000 per year to purchase the gifts.

“He starts shopping the day after Christmas for items for the next year,” said Linda Pickett.

This year, Logan purchased purses for the girls, and bath/cologne sets. For the boys, he selected dart boards, racetracks and dinosaurs.

“This is a big thing for him because you have different age groups, and everything else. So, he tries to find things that this kid will like, or that age would like,” Linda Pickett said.

She called him resourceful and said he spends about $15 per child.

“Every year, it’s different. One year, he did blankets and stuffed animals. He’s done a lot of different things, and he comes up with the gift ideas on his own,” Linda Pickett said.

His grandfather, or “papaw,” drives a big red truck, which the family calls a sleigh, and they load up the truck every year, and bring the gifts to Hamilton Dream Center.

“I have parents calling me, and thanking me, and many of our volunteers say he’s such an amazing young man,” said Pastor Wendell Coning of the Hamilton Dream Center. “He’s such a selfless young man, and it’s all about helping people. That’s what Hamilton Dream Center is all about. Logan leads by example.”

The past few years, Logan has not wrapped the gifts, so the kids have a chance to choose a gift they like. Kids can pick one larger gift, a small gift, a snack such as a bag of chips, a can of pop, and a treat bag or a stocking with candy.

“They pick and choose from each table, and I hope they go home with something they want,” said Logan Pickett. “I just hope with this that it pushes them to have a little bit of hope this year and happiness.”

Carlos Esquivel, 19, said he was born and raised in Hamilton, and he received gifts from Logan years ago.

“I’ve gone to this church since I was 6 years old. The church changed my life,” he said.

Esquivel added: “Crazy thing is, when I was here as a kid, Logan gave me gifts. Growing up, I didn’t have the most fortunate childhood, living in poverty, and a lot of kids in Hamilton live like that, and without Logan, things wouldn’t have been the same, you know, no presents. I know now that it isn’t about presents, but as a kid, that’s all you think about.”

Now, Esquivel works for a training facility in Hebron, Kentucky.

“I try to get as many people as I can into the gym, and try to change their lives,” he said.

Pickett was born and raised in Hamilton. He lives on the West side with his family, and he has a younger brother, Nathan. Pickett, an A/B student, is in the engineering program at school. After high school, he plans to go to technical school, and he wants to pursue welding as a career.

He started the D&D Club (Dungeons and Dragons Club) three years ago, which is one of the most popular clubs at the school. Pickett’s dad, Brandon Pickett, an educational assistant at the school, who works with multiple disability students, serves as a mentor of the group.

“We have 95 players currently,” he said.

Logan said the Engineering Club is another one of his favorites. He has a Facebook page dedicated to his efforts called “Logan’s Warm Heart.”

“It makes him happy to make other people happy,” Linda Pickett said.

One year, Pickett got 50 Reds tickets donated, and all the children had the opportunity to go to the Cincinnati Reds game in the summer of 2017.

“Some of the kids have never even been out of Hamilton, so for them to ride the bus to Cincinnati, and get to go to a Reds game was a big deal,” said Coning.

Pickett also works with residents at The Woodlands of Hamilton, an assisted living community. Prior to COVID, he played bingo with them, or he would take a group of elementary kids, and they would do Christmas caroling for the residents.

Dolores J. Lindsay of Lincoln Heights will be presented with the 2024 “Pillar of Character” award for her achievements and lifetime of service to the community and Susan Wyder of Springdale will be honored with the “Angel of Compassion” award.

The 2024 “Adult Heroes of Character” honorees include Sarah Blair, Reading; Tim Brown, Hamilton; LaVonda Corner, Mt. Healthy; Chip Dobson, Madeira; Melinda Fluker, Glendale; Abby Fox, Rising Sun, IN; Jonathon Frost, Hamilton; F. James Geers, Loveland; Brian Head, Cleves; Michelle Konerman, Hamilton; Logan Lawrence, Wilmington; Lilly Dawn Lewis, Aberdeen; Colleen McSwiggin, Bridgetown; Steve & Margie Ober, North Bend; Julie Leis Raleigh, Green Twp.; Art Reckman, Cincinnati; Rachel Reynolds, Greendale, IN; Bill Ward, Sharonville.

The “Student Heroes of Character” include Kaison Baldwin, Linden Elementary, Hamilton; Felia Benissan, Linden Elementary, Hamilton; Colton Gorsuch, Bridgeport Elementary, Hamilton; Brylee Haring, Central Elementary, Lawrenceburg, IN; Hudson Lewis, Linden Elementary, Hamilton; Yianni Papathanasiou, Taylor Middle School, Cleves; Logan Pickett, Hamilton High School, Hamilton; Kaitlyn (Jasper) Roberts, Hamilton High School, Hamilton; Madison Slagle, Princeton High School, Cincinnati; Yoselin Vicente-Roblero, Princeton High School, Cincinnati; and Bailey Zellner, Linden Elementary, Hamilton.

The 2024 Heroes of Character “Be the Change” Celebration will be held on April 11 at the Delta Marriott Hotel in Sharonville. Hosted by the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati, in collaboration with Hamilton’s City of Character Coalition, this celebration will recognize individuals of all ages within the Tri-state area whom their peers have nominated as upstanding citizens and people of character who make a difference in this world.

The celebration will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and will include a reception, dinner and a program. The voice of the Hamilton Joes Baseball Club, Tyler Bradshaw, will emcee the event, while recently retired superintendent of Princeton City Schools, Tom Burton, will deliver the keynote address. The event is the Character Council’s major fundraiser for the year and it will include a silent auction. For more information, visit www.charactercincinnati.org

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