RICHMOND, Ind. — For as long as his mother can remember, Carson Gross has wanted to be in the military and has had great reverence for those who have served.

So, naturally, when the soon-to-be-7-year-old told his mom all he wanted for his birthday was to have a couple uniformed members of the armed forces at his party, she sought out help from those who might be able to make that happen.

“He has wanted to be in the military (forever) … our family is really involved in helping the military and honoring them in any way we can,” Teresa Gross said. “The only thing he wanted this year was for real soldiers to be here to celebrate with him.”

Gross reached out through phone calls and social media to those around Richmond — and even some in surrounding cities and states — to see if they’d be able to donate some time to attend her son’s party.

“There was a great response, and I am thankful for all those who expressed interest,” she said. “There are wonderful people in our community.”

On Sunday at Legends Lanes on Richmond’s west side, Carson got everything he asked for and more, with the surprise appearance of five current or former members of the military at his party.

Marine Sgt. Clint Buell, Cpl. Matt Gross, gunnery Sgt. Frank Gross, Cpl. Brett Haskett, and Army Sgt. Jim Ponder went to the boy’s party to help him celebrate his seventh birthday.

The five men represented the Whitewater Valley Marine Corps League and presented Carson with a small assortment of gifts, including a challenge coin, a watch, a Marine Corps flag and a hat.

“When we heard this little boy wanted some heroes for his birthday party, we decided it was something we wanted to do,” said Buell, who is commandant of the Whitewater Valley Marine Corps League. “We love to help when we can; we do what we can to help our community.”

Buell said the boy, upon realizing there were members of the military at his party, appeared nervous, but ecstatic over his birthday wish becoming reality.

“I think he was nervous, but pretty excited,” he said. “It’s always great to see kids light up like that.”Teresa Gross said Carson was initially at a loss for words when he saw them walk through the door. But after meeting the service members and thanking them for attending the party and their service, he went on to go bowling with his friends and family as the military personnel looked on.

“He was really, really excited, to a point where he couldn’t even speak,” Gross said. “It was really (moving) to see him so surprised.”


Source: (Richmond) Palladium-Item, http://pinews.co/2wQR7lk


Information from: Palladium-Item, http://www.pal-item.com

This is an AP-Indiana Exchange story offered by the (Richmond) Palladium-Item.

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MICKEY SHUEY
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