LUDINGTON, Mich. — On top of gymnastics, dance and school, Sawyer Hendrickson has a jam-packed calendar that includes jet setting to Washington D.C. and helping veterans.
The 10-year-old has been on mission to serve our troops and vets since her older brother became a Marine a few year ago and left home.
"We thought we would do something while he was gone to remember everyone fighting for our freedom out there," explained Sawyer.
She and her mother began by placing barrels of little toy soldiers around town, encouraging folks to take one to remember our troops. Then, they began sending care packages to her brother and his friends.
That effort quickly grew to include hundreds of others.
"The couple dozen turned into a couple hundred, turned into a couple thousand," explained her mother Heather Hendrickson. "In 2018, we hit the 25,000 per year mark of care pages to every branch of service, all over the world, all over the United States."
Last year, they officially established "Miss Sawyer's Kids with a Cause" as a licensed nonprofit.
One of the biggest projects now is sending thousands of stockings to active military members during the holidays. After sending 5,588 stockings out last year, Sawyer said her goal is now 10,000 for 2019.
"We start working on them May or June, and then we go all the way to Christmas," she said. "We always think about everyone who's gone during the holidays, and can't see their families, and that's kind of like our inspiration to keep going."
The 10-year-old has collected an array of challenge coins, pins and Presidential Volunteer Service Award medals for her efforts. Over the past years she's visited Washington D.C. several times, where she's met with military officials, wounded warriors, and has even addressed Congress to advocate for veterans.
This week, the fifth-grader also had the honor of laying her seventh wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
"There's just so much and I'm so proud and she loves what she does," her mom told FOX 17 News. "The veterans loves what she does, and I don't know if she's going to stop anytime soon ... Her story is going to go on for years."
Sawyer said stockings will begin to be shipped out in early November and there is a need for shipping sponsors.
As the FOX 17 and Lake Michigan Credit Union Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Hendrickson is receiving a $300 prize.