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The gift of giving
Eli web
Crisse Reynolds, animal control officer in Crawford County, left, and Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick present Benton fourth grader Eli Blaine with a plaque for his selfless act of donating items the animal control for his birthday.

BENTON—A selfless act of kindness earned a 10-year-old boy unanticipated recognition.

Eli Blaine, a fourth grader at Benton Elementary School, celebrated his 10th birthday mid-December a little differently. Instead of asking for gifts for himself, he asked his friends to bring items to donate to an animal shelter instead. They donated food, treats and toys for both cats and dogs to Crawford County Animal Control.

“He talked with his mom, an acquaintance of Crawford County Animal Control, about where he wanted these items to go,” Crisse Reynolds, Crawford County Animal Control Officer, said. “When he learned of all the programming Crawford County has implemented regarding animal control, especially the success in reuniting lost dogs with their people, he insisted that the animal control officer should have these gifts to help all the animals she comes into contact with.”

Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick was impressed with Blaine’s selfless gift and penned a personal letter to him.

“I’ve been very pleased with the successes of our new animal control section,” McCullick said. “It’s great to hear that the public is behind it, too. And for such a young man to donate in this way – it’s great to hear.”

McCullick wanted others to know about Blaine’s good deed and made a special trip to Benton to surprise the 10-year-old with a visit to his classroom earlier this month. McCullick and Reynolds presented Blaine with a plaque recognizing his good deed.

“I was very surprised,” Blaine said. “It was exciting for me.”

He said his dad even recorded the Crawford County Sheriff’s visit.

“I am so impressed with this young man’s desire to help others,” Reynolds said. “It’s very motivating to know there are folks of all ages in support of our work.”

Blaine said his friends didn’t question his birthday gift decision.

“They were pretty supportive,” Blaine said.

The birthday group also went to see the newest Star Wars movie for Blaine’s birthday.