MARION (WSIL) — A young local baseball player wanted to give back to the Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois and this weekend he did, by raising more than $1,200 with his team.
11-year-old Jace Craver is a baseball player, student and a giver.
"I’m not being selfish, I’m being selfless," Craver said.
Craver attended his first honor flight last October at Veterans Airport in Marion. He was at the airport when dozens of veterans returned home from Washington D.C.
"They go to Washington D.C. to see their brothers that have fallen in war and they have done so much for us," Craver said.
His baseball coach Kevin Reichert said he made it a point to get his players to the airport.
"Just seeing the looks in the veteran’s eyes when they come back and see such youth supporting them," Reichert said.
Three months later, Craver went to Springfield to spend the day with Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, as his page.
Craver says he knew Fowler’s connection with the honor flight and he wanted to return the favor to Fowler.
Craver told his mom, Heather, he wanted to sell cookies to raise money for the honor flight.
"He’s always thinking of others, he has a huge heart," Heather said. "Dale Fowler was a huge inspiration to him."
But once Craver told his teammates on the Southern Illinois Prospect baseball team what he wanted to do, a coach had better idea.
That coach donated four Cardinal baseball tickets for the boys to raffle off with 100-percent of the proceeds going towards the honor flight.
"They are my brothers and they would do anything in the world for me and I would anything in the world for them," Craver said.
During a baseball game at Rent One Park in Marion on Saturday, Craver and his teammates surprised Fowler with a check for $1,220 dollars.
"I was shocked, I thought I was just coming here for a baseball game," Fowler said. "I was really afraid I was going to start bawling on your camera."
Fowler said because of Craver’s idea, the baseball team is now considered a sponsor of the honor flight.
"I just wanted to return the favor to him," Craver said.
The Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois board says they expect at least 85 veterans on their next flight on May 14.
Click here to visit the Honor Flight’s website.