It’s not every community that raises generous kids, but Langdon has many children with big hearts.
Posted on 5/14/16
By Melissa Anderson
One in particular is Melah Mackall, a little girl who just turned 8, and instead of receiving has decided to give instead by turning her birthday presents into a donation to area Veterans and their families.
“Because my dad’s a Veteran and I know sometimes Veterans don’t have homes, I’m hoping that he donates it to a Veteran or family that is in need,” Melah explained on why she donated to Veterans.
Melah first suggested the idea to her parents a few weeks prior to her birthday. The little girl with a big goal of helping Veterans sought her parents help in how best to make the donation happen.
“It was something I had never heard before from a little girl that’s 8 years old, “ Robert Mackall, Melah’s father said.
Melah’s mother, Jennifer Mackall, put on the RSVP cards for the party that Melah was requesting donations for Veterans in need rather than presents.
The Mackalls held a birthday party at the Roxy where kids could enjoy a movie and bring their donations. By the end of the party, there were over 10 cards with various amounts of cash from $5 dollar bills to $20 totaling over $100 for Melah to donate.
“It was really well received, and we were surprised with how many people went along with that idea,” Mackall shared.
A Veteran himself who knows the impacts that struggling financially can have on a family, and with their daughter having such a giving heart, they feel very proud of the little girl for giving up her birthday presents to instead donate to Veterans.
“She does things for others that she doesn’t have to, Mackall said, ” She is something that I have never seen in a child before.”
When Cavalier County Veterans Service Officer Leon Hiltner first received word that a little girl had forgone birthday presents and instead asked for donations for Veterans, he was thrilled to help her faciliate her donation.
“It’s nice to know that this young lady considered the Veterans and the sacrifices that Veterans have made,” Hiltner said.
Hiltner wasted no time in contacting the Cavalier County Republican so that Melah could get the recognition she deserved for such a generous act, something that neither Melah or her parents were expecting.
“She didn’t want any recognition and wasn’t expecting any,” Mackall said.
Hiltner and Melah discussed the options that she had as far as what the money could be used for. There are various ways the money could be used to benefit local or area Veterans.
Hiltner explained that the funds could be donated to local Veterans and their families that were in need, the VA hospital social services in Fargo, the Veteran’s home in Lisbon, or other Veteran’s centered organizations such as the American Legion, VFW, AmVets, DAV, etc.
Because of Hiltner’s involvement with the American Legion and familiarity with their organization, he suggested the funds could be donated to the American Legion Legacy Fund. The Legacy Fund is a scholarship available to children of servicemen and women who have lost their lives during active service. The scholarship will be expanded in 2017 to also include the children of Veterans with a disability of 50 percent or higher.
“Our organization remains committed to honoring the memory and service of our fallen and disabled comrades by ensuring their children are afforded the best possible educational opportunities,” the Legacy Fund states.
Another suggestion from Hiltner was the American Legion National Emergency Fund (NEF). The American Legion has been actively involved in meeting the needs of both the community and individual American Legion family members in the wake of disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and wildfires. The NEF works by providing direct financial assistance to American Legion family members and posts. By providing this emergency funding, NEF has prevented damaged posts from closing and enabled American Legion family members to recover from tragedy.
With so many options to choose from,Melah decided to keep the money exclusively local by having Hiltner donate the funds to two military families that are currently facing medical issues.
“Thank you very much for helping me to donate to the Veterans,” Melah said, “I feel proud of myself and so do my mom and dad for doing this by myself.”
“If this is what our next generation is going to be like, we are in really good shape,” Mackall stated.
If you would like to donate to Veterans, either locally, state, or nationally, please contact Cavalier County Veterans Service Officer Leon Hiltner at 701-256-2146 to discuss how you can help Veterans and their families.