Most 12-year-old boys want presents for their birthday, but Ethan Gellman is no ordinary boy.

Ethan Gellman

For 12-year-old Ethan Gellman, birthdays are about more than just receiving—they’re about giving.

It all started three years ago when Ethan couldn’t decide what he wanted for his ninth birthday.

“Ethan has always been concerned about our troops,” said Debi, Ethan’s mother. “He gets very upset when he sees them injured or deployed to distant countries, forced to leave their families behind.”

Ethan and his family brainstormed ways to make troops feel at home during deployment and decided that free phone time through VFW  Operation Uplinkwas the way to go.

Now three years later, his party is still a huge success. This year, as he turned 12, he added another special touch. He asked his friends to write letters of support for troops and bring them to the party.

“Our military sacrifices a lot for us. I wanted to help,” Ethan said.

At the end of the day, Ethan raised $335 for deployed troops. He plans to continue this tradition for many years to come.

In a letter to VFW included with his donation, Ethan wrote, “I hope they enjoy the free call time. We hope this makes life a little easier for the troops until they come home.”



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