Student Uses Her Birthday as a Platform for Veteran Donations

Charlie Reichelderfer is a nine-year-old student of Washington Elementary, and by all accounts your typical 3rd grader. She plays short-stop and pitcher on her local softball team, and her favorite subject is math. What sets Charlie apart from her peers, is her propensity to give back to the Veteran community.

Charlie, born on Veteran’s Day, had a bright idea just before her ninth birthday. She wanted to collect donations from the community to give to Veterans in need at the local VA Medical Center. So, armed with a hand-written letter and a thousand-watt smile, she set off on her mission.

Letter composed by Charlie for her birthday veterans donation drive.Photo: Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs

“I wanted Veterans to feel more appreciated, because they saved our country from all of those wars…I wanted to give them money to help with whatever is going on in their lives.”, Charlie said.

With the help of her grandmother, Debbie VanSickle, Gracie approached patrons at Jimbo’s Burgers and Beer, a family-run restaurant in South Bloomingville, auctioning Ohio State merchandise and taking in donations.

Over the course of a month, Charlie’s letter brought in $2,000, all of which went to the Veteran Food Insecurity Program at the Chillicothe VA Medical Center.

Charlie presents a check to the Veteran Food Insecurity Program at the Chillicothe VA Medical Center.Photo: Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs

Charlie isn’t planning on slowing down either, and wants to get her friends at school in the mix. “I want to raise a lot more money and set a goal each year. I want (my friends and I) to do some sort of sale to raise more for the Veterans.”, Charlie said with a smile. “It makes me feel happy, because I want the Veterans to have a smile on their face everyday when they think about it.”

Charlie set her goal for this Veteran’s Day at $4,000, and given this young girls’ spirit, her family has no doubt she will hit that mark. She is another example of how the community of southern Ohio cares for those who served.

From the Chillicothe VA Medical Center, we say thank you, Charlie, for your generosity and willingness to help the Veterans of our community.

If you would also like to donate, please contact our Center for Development & Civic Engagement, formerly known as Voluntary Service, to learn all the ways you can help Veterans in need. That number is (740) 773-1141 ext. 17421.

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