By MidWeek Staff
A Trinity Lutheran School seventh-grader took the holiday season to heart by playing Santa and delivering two vanloads of gifts and household supplies to the families of 19 sick, injured or wounded soldiers and veterans who are staying at Fisher House Hawaii.
The Tripler Hospital-based facility is one of 58 such houses worldwide supporting the families of America’s military. The Fisher House program serves more than 17,000 families annually, and has made available more than 4 million days of lodging to relatives since the program began in 1990.
Hannah Button began her philanthropic work as an 8-year-old after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her nonprofit, Dream of a Better World, has raised more than $100,000 since then.
“We learned what is was like to really need help, and help came from everywhere,” she said.
Button recently learned about the problems faced by some military families from her classmate whose father was deployed to Afghanistan.
She was sitting with her classmate at school one day when a soldier entered the room and tapped the girl on her shoulder. She turned to see her father, whom she hadn’t seen in a year. Both Button and her friend – and likely the returning soldier – began to cry.
“I am so lucky to have friends like Riley, whose families are willing to sacrifice in so many ways to keep our country safe,” Button explained.
That moment inspired her to create Operation Holiday Heroes. Together with her brother Jack and sister Carly, Button mobilized their friends to collect nearly 100 Christmas bags and gifts for the Fisher House families.
You can follow the Button children’s lead by giving to Fisher House at Dreamofabetterworld.org or to Tripler Fisher Houses, 317 Krukowski Road, Honolulu, HI 96819.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski