When Zoe Walz began her R.E.D. project to show support for deployed military personnel, she was hoping to raise a couple of hundred dollars.
Now, $12,000 later, the 12-year-old has been recognized as the National Junior American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Member of the Year.
Walz received her award at the ALA National Convention in Indianapolis, Aug. 26.
R.E.D. is a national campaign that stands for Remember Everyone Deployed.
“I did this trying to raise money for care packages to send to my dad’s unit when he was deployed,” Walz said. “I thought we’d get maybe 200 shirt orders.”
“We ended up selling over 2,000 shirts,” explained her step-mom, Alicia Walz.
Her father, Staff Sgt. John Walz, was deployed at various Middle East locations for a year, until returning home last fall.
Of the $12,000 raised through the campaign, $2,000 went to care packages. The other $10,000 went to help sponsor a service dog through Retrieving Freedom in Waverly.
Zoe Walz was nominated by Cindy Meyer, Unit President of Edgewood American Legion Auxiliary 512.
“This was a nice project that got the attention of the entire community for deployed troops,” Meyer said. “We are all proud of Zoe.”
Zoe filled shirt orders to several states. The family still runs into people wearing the R.E.D. shirts.
“I think it’s cool when we go somewhere and we see someone wearing a shirt, especially when it’s someone we don’t know and they aren’t from Edgewood,” Alicia Walz said.
While Zoe Walz would like to continue the project, she’s going to take some time off to just be a seventh-grader at Edgewood-Colesburg.
“I’d like to thank the Edgewood American Legion Auxiliary and Cindy Meyer for nominating me,” she said.