For his birthday, a nine-year-old wanted to give to veterans in need, so he asked his friends for donations instead of presents.
T-shirts, socks, and blankets. It’s not what most nine-year-old boys would ask for on their birthday, but it’s exactly what Owen Zavatone wanted.
“My birthday was laser tag, and instead of them giving me presents, I thought that since my birthday was close to Christmas-time, we can give the veterans stuff,” said Owen.
His mind made up, Owen collected needed items and dropped them off at the American Legion Kiltonic Post 72 in Southington which will take them to the Veterans Home and Hospital in Rocky Hill.
“People forget about them. They think about us a couple times a year: Memorial Day, Veterans Day. And then they forget about them. And these are the people that put their lives on the line and for whatever reason, they’re in need now and they need help,” said Steve Pintarich with the American Legion Kiltonic Post 72.
Pintarich said some veterans arrive at the Rocky Hill site with only the clothes on their back, so donated items like clothing, K-cups, and toiletries make a big difference.
“Regular items we always buy are boomboxes so they have music next to them, electric razors, socks, shoes, boots. It’s not fancy stuff or anything like that. It’s basic needs,” said Pintarich.
On Friday night, the American Legion Kiltonic Post 72 presented Owen with a certificate of appreciation and a challenge coin as his family watched.
“He is incredibly generous. He’s incredibly kind, and I’m so proud of him,” said Owen’s mom, Maureen.
Owen said when he grows up, he want to go into the military, too. This is the third time he’s offered up his birthday as a way to raise items for people who’ve served or are serving this country, and he doesn’t plan on stopping.
“I want them to know that I really care,” said Owen.
If you would like to donate items, you can drop them off at the American Legion Kiltonic Post 72 in Southington.