"It made me feel good because I knew that I was helping someone else."
So says Carson Atkins, who used his ninth birthday party earlier this month to collect donations for the children of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Officer Benjamin Deen, after the policeman was killed in the line of duty on May 9 along with his colleague, officer Liquori Tate.
"Father’s day was coming up, and police officers give to us every single day, so I thought that one day I could give to them," Carson said to WDAM, explaining his motive. The boy asked for donations at the party instead of presents.
"It caught me off guard,” Carson's dad, Jonah Atkins, told the Clarion Ledger of his son's decision. “It’s hard for adults to think that way, much less kids. The world today is filled with me, me, me. [This] is something that is in him. He is very special.”
As a thank you, the Lamar County Sheriff's Department opted to turn Carson's birthday celebration into a surprise party, arriving unexpectedly mid-party with lights and sirens blazing. The officers handed the boy a variety of law enforcement patches and medals, and Officer Deen's brother, Josh, presented the baseball-loving youngster with Deen's own baseball card collection.
Carson's mom, April, told WDAM her son's fundraiser netted nearly $1,000 for the family.