A 10-year-old Indiana boy has become a hero to his heroes by raising the funds to outfit his local police department’s K-9s with vests to wear while on duty.
Richie Scott, a fourth-grader at Creekside Elementary School in Franklin, started raising funds in December as part of a community service project. WXIN-TV in Indianapolis reported that Richie's project was part of his testing on the path to a black belt in Taekwondo.
"I wanted to protect those who protect me and the whole community," Richie told the news station.
Richie and his family started a GoFundMe page for the project and spread donation jars through the city, located about 20 miles south of Indianapolis. They were also able to host a silent auction, auctioning off a basketball signed by each member of the Indiana Pacers.
The fundraising effort, initially designed to raise $800 for one tactical K-9 vest, far surpassed the family’s hopes by bringing in more than $2,000. Richie was able to outfit all three of the Franklin Police Department’s K-9 officers, Pepper, Thor and Stinger.
"I felt really happy for myself because I didn't think I was actually going to raise enough of that money," Richie told WXIN-TV.
Officer Jeffery Dawe, one of the department’s K-9 handlers, said it is unusual to find child so eager to help a public service agency.
“It’s almost hard to express the words,” Dawe said.
Not only did Richie earn his black belt, but he is also continuing to raise money for the police department, which plans to add a fourth K-9 next month. The fourth-grader plans to use the money he raises to buy a vest for that dog, as well.
"I can't leave that one out, so I am working to raise funds to get the new officer a vest as well," Richie wrote on his new GoFundMe page, which had already raised $750 in just 16 hours.