When Ethan Buss turned 10, he didn’t want an Xbox or a PS4, or any presents, really. Ethan just wanted to help people.
His birthday party was originally going to be a small get-together for friends and family, with the goal of raising money for hurricane relief.
But plans changed when the party grew much larger, and eventually, the entire community was invited to Ethan’s birthday party at Risky’s in Beatrice on Oct. 29.
Ethan ended up raising more than $5,000 to help people hit hard by last year's hurricanes. As a way of recognizing his work and generosity, the American Legion Auxiliary of Beatrice awarded him with their Good Deed Award.
The Good Deed Award is given to children whose positive actions do something to give back to the community. Whether it’s donating hair to Locks of Love, organizing a canned food drive or, in Ethan’s case, raising enough money to help more than 2,000 people, the Good Deed Award represents the Auxiliary’s motto of “service not self” and the award comes signed by the American Legion Auxiliary’s national president, Diane Duscheck.
The American Legion Auxiliary had heard about Ethan’s fundraiser, according to Ethan’s mother, Amber Shufeldt. The Auxiliary wasn't able to send any representatives to the spaghetti feed at Risky’s—during which Ethan and his friends personally served dinner. The Auxiliary did, however, send along a check for $100 to help with the effort.
The dinner raised $5,000 for the Red Cross, which then used the money to purchase 2,000 hygiene kits for disaster victims.
A few days later, Shufeldt got a call from Marian Melcher with the Beatrice American Legion Auxiliary, asking if they could nominate Ethan for the award. That was the last Shufeldt had heard about it until recently.
“I kind of had forgotten about it,” she said. “They called us a week or two ago and said that he was selected for that award.”
This Monday, the group presented Ethan with the award and thanked him for his contribution to those in need.
Over the last few months, Ethan has gotten a lot of media attention, Shufeldt said, from newspapers, radio and even TV, but he’s been pretty unfazed by the whole thing.
Shufeldt said that Ethan’s a smart kid, but she’s not sure if he understands all the attention, but said it’s not slowing him down.
“He is very, just genuine,” Shufeldt said. “Just a very kind, genuine person.”