There are two young, giving twin brothers from Turlock named Jude and Jack Locke that have a love for animals and veterans. At a recent barbecue and rally in Modesto, the boys presented a check to American Veterans First (AVF) representative Duke Cooper in the amount of $476.91 for a new pilot program called Pets for Vets.
After meeting Cooper, who lives in Oakdale, at a Modesto Nuts game, where he was the selected veteran to be honored and given a jersey, the boys wanted to do something to support the AVF.
“The boys wanted to shake his hand and buy him an ice cream,” stated their mother Stephani Locke. “It all escalated from there. They always like to help animals so they agreed with Duke that Pets for Vets would be perfect for their next business venture.”
In October to raise funds for the program the boys set up a lemonade stand. Previously the boys raised $917 for their local shelter.
Stephani expressed that the boys love sports with baseball and basketball being their favorites, hence their attendance at the Modesto Nuts game.
“We are at every Modesto Nuts game possible. They enjoy chasing foul balls just so they can find some other kids to give them to,” said Stephani. “They also received a hometown heroes award from the Nuts because of what they did with their earnings from the lemonade stand in July.”
During the holidays these charitable fifth graders have been known to donate time at the Salvation Army ringing bells and next year there are plans for more lemonade stand fundraisers.
“We are super proud of them and what they have done with the community,” expressed Stephani. “They keep us busy.”
The boys made an enormous impression on Cooper and he is thrilled to have gotten the opportunity to meet such exceptional youngsters.
“It is really nice to see such young individuals care about veterans,” said Cooper. “The donation they made will go to spay/neuter and vaccinations for pets through the Astro Foundation.”
Ultimately, the goal is to place shelter pets with veterans.
The Locke family has two shelter dogs, Charlie and Buddy as well as two cats that were strays, Fluffy and Trotter. They also enjoy feeding the chickens at their grandparent’s house so needless to say they have a love for animals.
American Veterans First is a non-profit organization in Riverbank that has helped veterans in the Central Valley including Riverbank, Oakdale and Modesto with coats during the winter, food, mobility, and many other hardships and challenges.
“These little boys came through and they are making a difference,” added Cooper. “They are making the world a better place.”