“I was really upset so I started to thank the troops,” Cody said.
Kelly Jackson said since then her son has probably collected $15,000, sent 4,000 pounds of care packages to deployed troops and shaken the hands of 15,000 soldiers.
This week, Build-A-Bear Workshop will recognize Cody for his efforts to support the military. He is one of 10 youth nationwide to be named a winner of the company’s 2013 Huggable Hero program, which honors young leaders ages 8 to 18 for their outstanding community service work.
“He works really hard,” Kelly Jackson said.
Cody, nicknamed the One-Boy USO, said he was happy and excited to learn he was named a Huggable Hero. Fans of his Facebook page nominated him for the program.
He will receive $10,000 for the honor, which includes an educational scholarship, a donation to a charity of his choice and a mentoring scholarship. The money will go right back to furthering Cody’s mission of supporting the troops.
As a Huggable Hero winner, Cody will also participate in the Jefferson Awards for Public Service’s Globechangers Boot Camp, which will teach him tools to build a lifetime of public service.
When he gets older, Cody said he wants to serve his country by joining the Marines.
He is currently involved in the Young Marines.
In addition to sending letters and care packages to soldiers overseas, Cody has written two books to encourage other children to become patriotic. The proceeds from his books and the donations he collects during book signings go to buy supplies for the care packages.
Cody sends a variety of items to the troops including fun novelties like water guns, Nerf guns, whoopee cushions and Silly String. Kelly Jackson said they learned the Silly String has been useful for soldiers to detect trip wires for improvised explosive devices.
Care packages also include food, toiletries and first aid supplies.
“They fight over Tabasco sauce, peanut butter and any kind of seasoning,” Kelly Jackson said.
To help contribute to Cody’s efforts, visit www.oneboyUSO.com.