Warren teen starts drive to help veterans' organization

Drive started by Aidan Weber, of Warren, has raised more than $1,100 for Wounded Warrior Project

By Ted Hayes
Posted 11/17/20

cut: aidan

Aidan Weber, working on his computer at home, made a video, founded a website and spread the word around school about his fund-raiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. To date, the drive …

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Warren teen starts drive to help veterans' organization

Drive started by Aidan Weber, of Warren, has raised more than $1,100 for Wounded Warrior Project

Posted

The first thing Kickemuit Middle School student Aidan Weber wants you to know is that his recent and ongoing drive to raise funds for an important veterans' advocacy group isn't a one-person effort:

"It's really important to say that a lot of people helped out," said Aidan, 13, an eighth grader who lives in Warren.

"All my teachers helped out, and my whole home room came up with ideas. Some people made flyers to hang around school; I just kind of put the idea out there."
But the drive, which has to date raised more than $1,100 for the Wounded Warriors Project, an advocacy for veterans' mental health and social stability, all started with an idea, and questions.

Last month, as Veterans' Day approached, Aidan started thinking about the holiday and how he and other students in elementary school used to write letters to veterans during the holiday. They don't do that anymore, he said, but he wanted to do something again:

Veterans "do a lot for our country and they deserve a lot of credit. I have veterans in my family; one is active duty. I hear their stories and they amaze me."

While his mom had always suggested that he try to raise funds for charity, "I always blew it off ... which was the wrong way of thinking."

So this year, he started researching veterans' organizations, and found out about the Wounded Warriors Project. He was impressed with its mission.

"I had always seen the commercials on TV but I didn't know much about it," he said. "But this one helps people, their families, get attention and treatment for PTSD. It helps get them out of a place that can be hard."

Aidan had no fund-raising experience, but after being encouraged by his mom, teachers and principal, started working on a video and founded a website to serve as the fund-raising base. His initial goal was to raise $500 for the organization.

As his effort became known around school, everyone from his fellow students to teachers and staff started offering help, suggesting ideas and things he might want to think of. As a result, posters and flyers were hung up around school, students brought news of the drive home with them and an in-school gift card raffle was started.

Jeff Brackett, who teachers in the KMS music department, is also the past Exalted Ruler of the Bristol County Elks Lodge, and currently serves as secretary. When he heard about Aidan's effort, he took note.

"I was just totally impressed with this young adult and the effort he was making to raise funds for a very worthy project," Mr. Brackett said. "I really wanted to do something special for him in hopes that he would meet his gaol of raising $500."

At an Elks meeting soon after, he brought up the effort and played Aidan's video for members. When it was over, "there was not a doubt about supporting him," he said. The Elks subsequently cut a $350 check for Aidan's drive.

Aidan said he has been blown away by the outpouring of support his project has received, and said one of his favorite moments was seeing the first dollar donated.

"I guess I had low hopes or expectations," he said. "I was glad when I saw the first dollar donated, I was like, 'Wow!'"

Though the raffle is for members of the Kickemuit Middle School community only, Aidan is also accepting donations through his website, 

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