12-year-old boy impresses Heath Springs officials

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By Johnathan Ryan

HEATH SPRINGS – It's not all the time you find a 12-year-old boy who would rather work instead of play video games and ride bikes, but Anthony Ledford is different.

He's a boy who does a lot of volunteer work in Heath Springs.

Ledford, a sixth-grader at Andrew Jackson Middle School, was recognized by Heath Springs Town Council on Nov. 19 for his work, mainly at the town fire department. He received a plaque for his volunteer work.

"Anthony will soon have spent half of his life volunteering without recognition for his efforts," Mayor Ann Taylor said. "That is why we have decided to make a special award in recognition of all that he has done and note his continued work as a junior volunteer."

For the past five years, Ledford has assisted the fire department with work details, fundraisers and special projects.

"Anthony helped install the ceramic tile floors in the fire department kitchen, spending hours on his knees helping to clean the floors, grout the tiles and clean up the mess afterwards," Taylor said. "Another example of his volunteer spirit is the time he has spent working with the town's fire hydrants, helping gather measurements, GPS (global position system) readings and clearing grass from the area around them. He helps wash trucks, clean floors and performs any other task that he is able to – sometimes even serving as a victim during training exercises."

His father, Patrick Helms, is a volunteer with the fire department and is employed by Lancaster County Emergency Management. Helms said his son takes the initiative to come to him looking for work.

"I don't ask him. He asks me," Helms said. "He is like, 'Are we going to do this, or we going to do that?' He enjoys working down at the department."

Ledford stepped in for his father when Helms was hospitalized on July 4. The department needed people to sell raffle tickets, so Ledford scoured the crowd at Heath Springs' annual July 4th parade, selling what he could.

Ledford is proud of his achievement.

"I've helped out a lot. If they ask or say they have something for me to do, I'll do it without hesitation," he said.

Ledford wants to be a police officer and firefighter when he grows up.

"My dad is a firefighter and I've wanted to be a cop for five years now," he said.

Taylor said it's uncommon for a boy as young as Ledford to be so civic-minded. It's hard to even find adults who will donate time nowadays, she said.

She said he's an "example for many others to follow."

Contact Johnathan Ryan

at 416-8416 or