PLAINVILLE - A local 9-year-old student at Linden Elementary School, Michael Ahern, aims to raise $30,000 through his “Scoops for Troops” ice cream fundraiser.
This fundraiser would help send wounded post-9/11 veterans and their families on an all-expenses-paid vacation to The Travis Mills Foundation’s retreat in Rome, Maine.
The Ahern family has a vacation home in Maine, and over the years they would see the foundation’s retreat being built. Then, last Fourth of July, the family watched a parade in Belgrade, Maine, where Michael Ahern spotted a soldier who had lost both of his legs across the street.
“I went over to tell him ‘thank you for your service,’” said Ahern. “Ever since I was 3 years old, I was really interested in the Army and what they do. I would always say ‘thank you for your service.’”
This event sparked Ahern’s desire to give back to those that have served. He soon discovered the story about U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills, who lost portions of both legs and arms serving in Afghanistan in 2012. He wrote him a letter asking him if he could raise $400 to pay for kids’ ice cream while on a boat at the foundation’s retreat. Mills accepted his offer and by May Ahern quickly raised $400 to do so.
Soon after this, Ahern met with Mills in person and decided to go for an even larger fundraiser. Ahern now wanted to send families on an all-expense paid vacation to the retreat. The Ahern family got to work on a website, scoopsfortroops.org, and as of this past Thursday, have raised $6,537.
“All I can say is wow,” said Ahern.
The family hopes to meet their fundraising goal by Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Central Connecticut businesses have been setting up donation baskets to support Scoops for Troops. These include Fancy Bagels in Southington, Mortensen Dairy Ice Cream in Newington and Image Ink in Newington. Additionally, the VFW in Berlin has reached out to the family to have them at their car show Aug. 11. The Ahern family will be handing out ice cream that day and collecting donations.
Ahern has also received support from his 11-year-old sister, Kara, who said she is his biggest cheerleader.
For more information on Scoops for Troops, or to support the fundraiser, visit scoopsfortroops.org.
For more information about the Travis Mills Foundation, visit travismills.org.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.