- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

EAGLE GROVE, Iowa (AP) - Middle school students in the northern Iowa city of Eagle Grove spent a day doing service projects to honor a caring student who was killed in 2008 when a tornado swept over a Boy Scouts camp.

Students at Robert Blue Middle School took part in the projects Monday during the annual Aaron Eilerts Day of Service, the Fort Dodge Messenger reported (https://bit.ly/1foUXmz ). The day honors the life of the Eagle Grove scout, who had just finished eighth grade when he was killed by a tornado that hit the Little Sioux Boy Scout Camp in western Iowa.

Three scouts from Omaha also died and nearly 50 others were injured.

After his death, then-Gov. Chet Culver proclaimed Aaron’s birthday, Feb. 24, to be a statewide day of service.

Middle school Principal Scott Jeske said Aaron was always looking to help people.

“I think he was honored by the state because he was such a unique kid,” Jeske said. “He was different than any kid I’ve ever been around in my 26 years of education. He was so giving, and was just always looking for ways to help people. You see some kids like that, but nobody to the extent that he did it.”

On Monday, Jeske wore a reminder of Aaron - a customized tie the boy had given him on his first day as principal.

“On my first day of being principal, when I walked in this was on my desk,” he said. “He wanted to make my first day better.”

Some students made pillowcases, which Aaron would sew and give away as gifts.

“He would give them to firefighters and teachers, but mostly to kids,” said teacher Mary Ann Smith, who helped organize the pillowcase sewing. “He gave them to the hospital at Clarion. He would use his birthday money. He would have garage sales with his old toys. Sometimes people would donate to him. Fabric is not cheap.”

Others activities included painting murals, making crafts and collecting food for pantries.

Student Sarah Wilson made dolls by cutting out cloth, stitching the cloth together and stuffing it with cotton and adding yarn for hair. She helped other students make the dolls, which she plans to send to an orphanage in Haiti.

“I go to these different church things, and they talk about these kids who don’t have much. So I was thinking, why not just make dolls, just to make them happy? Just to make them smile,” she said.

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Information from: The Messenger, https://www.messengernews.net


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