What were your dreams and aspirations when you were 9 years old? If your name is Tyler Stallings, you may have a desire that is unusual for your age. Military Times reports that ever since Tyler was 4 years old, he has been helping homeless veterans.
5 years have passed since that time and Tyler was able to help many veterans and military families in his community after raising $100,000. Thanks to his efforts, he is also being recognized by receiving the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award for Baltimore County.
The website reports that the award is presented to individuals and organizations by the Comptroller of Maryland. Anyone who is deserving within the 23 counties or the City of Baltimore that exemplified the lifelong commitment of William Donald Schaefer to helping people may receive the award.
Andrea Blackstone is Tyler’s mom and, according to Military Times, she said that when he was only 4 years old, he showed her some YouTube videos about military service and veterans. She wanted to teach him about the services that those veterans supply for their country. Many in their family have also been in the military. When she found videos that showed how some veterans are homeless, she hesitated to show them to her son. When he saw them, however, he decided to do something about it.
Military Times reported that according to his mother, “He lit up, and he was upset. He kept telling me it wasn’t right.”
It was then that Tyler asked his mother to take him shopping so he could get supplies to help veterans. Blackstone was touched by what her son requested, but she had to tell him they didn’t have the money to build homes for the homeless. That is when they decided to go on a quest to look for a way to help. They started sending questions to the governor’s office in Maryland, asking what could be done to help the veterans.
Blackstone decided to start “Give Back to Veterans Day” and turn it into a nonprofit. She provided him with $100 to make care packages for veterans that included thank you cards and toiletries.
“It was always very important to me from the very beginning for anyone to understand this was not my idea, this was a little kid who’s barely 4-years-old, his idea,” Blackstone said to Military Times. “I think sometimes people assume, because someone is so young, that it would be impossible to come up with something like this.”
She asked Tyler if he would be okay that what he did was shared on social media and he said yes.
After the donations started, Tyler said that he wanted to continue helping veterans. He continues to help to this day.
“I think the resounding message has been if a kid this young can care and put so much effort into the cause, then other people can get involved and figure out how we can support our veterans on the community level, too,” Blackstone said.
Blackstone has had her share of problems as a single mother. Even though that is the case, she continues to push forward. She recognizes the value of the help they are providing and appreciates the reward of giving people what they need.
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