Altrusa honors Bennett Elementary second-grader

Some people simply watch the news, but others are inspired to act by it.

Haley Walker is one of those people who acts when she sees things happening, and for that, the Altrusa Evening Group of Lubbock is honoring her and her mother, Amber Walker.

Haley, who just turned 8 years old recently, is the youngest person honored by Altrusa. Haley is a second-grader at Bennett Elementary School.

Haley is being honored for her efforts at getting people to donate clothing and other items for the people of Joplin, Mo., following the tornado there last spring.

Her mother, Amber, said she and Haley watched the news together, and then she got on the phone, trying to contact friends and relatives where she grew up in Joplin. Haley was born there.

Haley, on the other hand, immediately went to her room and began gathering up her old clothes.

“I started digging and digging and digging, and I found a lot of old clothes,” Haley said. “I just felt like I had to donate them.”

Amber Walker said she was inspired by her daughter’s idea, and asked a few friends if they would like to donate some items, which she thought they would just take in their car in a visit the following week.

But one of those friends contacted the media about Haley’s generous spirit. Soon, Haley, then a first-grader, was doing interviews on the news, and the family was receiving more stuff than they could take in a car.

Then a man contacted them and said he would add a flatbed trailer, a driver and fuel to the effort.

Ultimately, Haley’s bag of clothes turned into inspiration for Lubbock-area residents to donate two truckloads and one Frenship busload of items.

“She’s always been a sweet girl, but I’ve never known her to do something so huge, and it started out so small,” Amber Walker said. “I am really proud of her.”

Amber Walker said when they arrived in Joplin, many of the houses with wrap-around porches that she had known there were gone.

“They were all flattened. Bark stripped from trees. Playgrounds demolished. The hospital looked like a bomb had gone off in it,” Amber Walker said.

The family spent a few days handing out water and supplies to Joplin residents.

“It was really devastating. It’s the one word I think describes it all,” Amber Walker said.

You must be logged in to post a comment.