Christopher Edwards, 12, wants to be a canine handler in the Marine Corps when he turns 18.
He says this choice of career combines two of the things he loves most – those who serve the United States in the military, and animals.
And he isn’t just waiting around to grow up to become a part of his chosen career, or to help those who serve our country.
With the help of his mom, Denise, Christopher started a campaign on Facebook in April called “Huddle Up for Heroes” whose purpose is to provide care packages to the troops serving overseas. To date, the page has over 2,000 “likes” and Christopher has heard from folks all over the country and overseas. “We’ve sent out 22 care packages since the page went up and each package provides items for six to ten soldiers,” Edwards said, meaning that approximately 200 soldiers have received some of the items. Most go to those serving in Special Forces who may not be near a base camp where they have access to some basic comforts.
The packages contain baby wipes, powdered drink mix for bottled water, snacks, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other basic essentials. They also can contain more personal items such as pillowcases, cooling neckbands, handmade soaps, letters, notes and other things that have been donated by folks who want to help Christopher. Each package also contains several letters and/or thank you notes from Christopher himself, as well as his handmade “hero bands” — a bracelet of key chain of various interwoven colors. And not to forget his canine friends serving in the military, Christopher also sometimes sends out dog treats. The soldiers call the bands “survival bands,” but Christopher calls his “hero bands” because he says each member of the service is his personal hero. One soldier sent Christopher back his own care package with two T shirts, a gold coin, three patches and an “Operation Enduring Freedom” hat he never takes off. “That’s why I have ‘hat hair,’” Christopher said, smiling.
Edwards says her son’s love of the military started when he was just 4 years old and she lost a good friend while he was serving in Iraq. Sergeant Rod Shelley died in combat in July 2004. Edwards says her small son picked up on her grief and asked her why Shelley had died. She told him that her friend had died serving our country.
12 year old sets up Facebook page, sells ‘hero bands’ and plans tour to send care packages to the troops
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