You could hear the bubbling enthusiasm as she spoke. “Mom! Cookie had babies!” That excited report came from Taylor Bass, the 9-year-old daughter of Army veteran and wounded warrior Benjamin Bass.
“Cookie” is a goat. And Taylor loves goats … and pretty much all animals. But what sets Taylor apart is that she is using her love for the farm and talent for raising animals to give back to people in need.
At Operation Homefront, we are continually touched by the generous nature of those who raise money for us with different kinds of fundraisers, but we have a special place for the kids who give back. And they find unique ways to be generous. Like the young girl who took donations on a back country road during the popular RAGBRAI bike ride across Iowa and raised $1000 for military families.
When we learned of Taylor’s unique story, word spread quickly among our staff.
Taylor’s dad, who served one tour in Iraq, was hit by a car while on active duty. As a result of complications from combat PTSD and those injuries, he was medically retired. In the midst of transitioning from military service to civilian life in Texas, the family struggled as they waited for their benefits to be sorted out. As their options began to run out, Operation Homefront stepped in to help. “Operation Homefront saved us because we didn’t get paid for three months and I didn’t have the money to pay (the car payment) and utilities … and (you) gave us money for food to feed our kids and diapers for my baby boy. (You) also helped us find other assistance in our area to cover our phone and school supplies for Taylor,” said Taylor’s mom, Krista.
Taylor sums it up neatly. “You guys helped us,” she said. And so, when family life became more stable, she wanted to say thanks by giving back. And she found a unique way to do that.
Taylor joined 4-H and started raising two goats – Elsa and Olaf. She did so well taking care of them that when she went to show them at the local county fair, one of her goats was selected for the premium auction at the livestock sale that followed the event.
At the auction, the bidding reached $1700 for her goat. Then, the word got out that she was giving the proceeds of the sale to support military families. People began to contribute money to the auction and to Taylor, to help her continue in 4-H.
The next day, her second goat was to be sold at another nearby auction and the news of Taylor’s intentions followed her there. The goat was sold, returned to Taylor, and resold several times, raising $1800.
When it was all over, Taylor had raised more than $3000 for Operation Homefront and she also made a donation to Wounded Warrior Project. “I’m super proud of her,” said Taylor’s mom.
Not one to sit back and be idle, Taylor is raising goats for 4-H again. This year, she wants the proceeds to go to children who are battling cancer. In fact, her goat Elsa was sold to a local farmer and Taylor may end up getting one of Elsa’s babies to continue her ongoing tradition of “kids” giving back.
Taylor gives us the perfect example to follow. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re up to…you can make a difference. Thanks Taylor!