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Boy spends pandemic collecting golf balls, sells them to benefit war dog memorial

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Posted at 2:46 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-07 23:46:04-04

Some people are just born to give, to make the world a better place.

Heather Elledge said her son, Ashton, has been giving back since the first grade when he launched a kindness club at his school to benefit Children's Hospital of Michigan.

"Ashton's always been a really kind, loving, empathetic kid," said Heather.

Now at 10 years old, Ashton recently set his sights on the Michigan War Dog Memorial in South Lyon.

The Michigan War Dog Memorial honors our K-9 heroes, giving retired military working dogs and retired service dogs a final resting place.

"I always loved it, the War Dog Memorial, since I was little," said Ashton.

So, in the middle of a pandemic, Ashton spent the year collecting golf balls, eventually stocking away enough to sell at a golf tournament.

"We set up the table and that we made a little square sign," said Ashton.

His mom added, "He stayed out there for ... two, three, four days and sold all of his golf balls. Most of the people really didn't want the golf balls, they wanted to help his charity. They thought it was really cool what he was doing. So, he had a lot of support."

In the end, Ashton collected more than $2,000 to present to the Michigan War Dog Memorial.

"It was my birthday that day, so it was a really special day," said Ashton.

Michigan War Dog Memorial President Phil Weitlauf, a military veteran, said it was quite an incredible gesture.

"I just thought to myself, 'this is fantastic for him to step up.' He could have used the money to buy anything he wanted. And instead, he wanted to honor our K-9 heroes. And that's why I'm so proud of him, for his age to think that way. And as I put in my post, the parents raised him right. They raised him right," Weitlauf said.

The money, Weitlauf said, will help pay for the headstones and maintenance of the memorial space.

And as for Ashton's future, he hopes for more golf and more giving.

"I would like to be a golfer, have many more charities, and be a humanitarian," he said.

Weitlauf said the organization is all volunteer-based, so every dollar it receives goes into its work.

If you’d like to donate or learn more about the Michigan War Dog Memorial, go here.

This story was originally published by Alexandra Bahou at WXYZ.