10-year-old spends pandemic collecting golf balls, sells them to benefit Michigan War Dog Memorial

Posted at 8:48 AM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 14:01:11-04

(WXYZ) — Some people are just born to give, to make the world a better place.

Heather Elledge said her son Ashton has been giving back since the first grade, when he launched a kindness club at his school to benefit Children's Hospital.

"Ashton's always been a really kind, loving, empathetic kid," said Heather.

Now at 10 years old, Ashton recently set his sights on the Michigan War Dog Memorial in South Lyon.

The Michigan War Dog Memorial honors our K9 heroes, giving retired military working dogs and retired service dogs a final resting place.

"I always loved it, the War Dog Memorial, since I was little," said Ashton.

So, in the middle of a pandemic, Ashton spent the year collecting golf balls, eventually stocking away enough to sell at a golf tournament.

"We set up the table and that we made a little square sign," said Ashton.

His mom added, "He stayed out there for ... two, three, four days and sold all of his golf balls. Most of the people really didn't want the golf balls, they wanted to help his charity. They thought it was really cool what he was doing. So he had a lot of support."

At the end, Ashton had collected more than $2,000 to present to the Michigan War Dog Memorial.

"It was my birthday that day, so it was a really special day," said Ashton.

Michigan War Dog Memorial President Phil Weitlauf, a military veteran, said it was quite an incredible gesture.

"I just thought to myself, this is fantastic for him to step up. He could have used the money to buy anything he wanted. And instead he wanted to honor our K9 heroes. And that's why I'm so proud of him, for his age to think that way. And as I put in my post, the parents raised him right. They raised him right," he said.

The money, Phil said, will help pay for the headstones and maintenance of the memorial space.

And as for Ashton's future, he hopes for more golf and more giving.

"I would like to be a golfer, have many more charities and be a humanitarian," he said.

Phil said the organization is all volunteer based, so every dollar they receive goes into their work.

If you’d like to donate or learn more about the Michigan War Dog Memorial, go here.