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Boy foregoes birthday presents for donations

LaGRANGE — Drew Burke has loved animals all of his life.

When his birthday came around earlier this year, instead of presents he asked for donations to the Troup County Humane Society. Donations including dog and cat food, toys and collars flooded in from family and friends.

“My parents always go over the top for my birthday,” he said. “It’s always a special time. So I decided this year that it was time to go over the top for someone or something else. I have everything I’ll ever need.”

Drew knew that he wanted to give back because of one special cat, Winnie. Winnie has been in Drew’s life since she was a kitten, and she has brought him and his family joy.

Where Drew goes, Winnie follows. They are best friends, and Drew realized how to give back to the cat he loves. Winnie was a rescue, and he knew donations to the Humane Society would be greatly appreciated.

“I love animals,” he said. “So I thought donating food or other items to the shelter would be something good to do.”

He told all of his family and all of his friends about the birthday project. Some people gave money, which Drew and his family used to buy supplies for the project.

Linda Couto, the administrative assistant for the Troup County Humane Society, met with Drew and his mom, Samantha Bowling, to receive the items.

Couto said donations are received every day, but not like what Drew contributed. This was the first time she was aware someone dedicated their birthday to benefit the Humane Society.

Board members were there to meet with the young man and hear his story. They were blown away by his generosity.

“Our success here at Humane Society depends solely on our valuable volunteers and our wonderful donors,” Couto said. “Without donations and support from the community we could not exist.

“Drew is a perfect example of how anyone at any age can contribute and make sure the animals in the community get the help that they need as well,” she continued. “… We want to thank Drew and his entire family for their support.”

Drew didn’t know his project would make a difference not only in his community, but his school as well. The charity of giving has been contagious; a classmate of Drew’s also decided to give to the Humane Society.

By taking the old saying “Be the change you want to see in the world” to heart, he started a chain reaction.

The Humane Society is open Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and a wish list is posted on their website at www.lagrangehumane.org.

Drew Burke sits with the items he donated to the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society. Instead of presents, Drew asked for donations for his birthday earlier this year.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_web0812Drew01-1.jpgDrew Burke sits with the items he donated to the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society. Instead of presents, Drew asked for donations for his birthday earlier this year. Emily Jones | Special to the Daily News
Drew Burke sits with his cat and constant companion, Winnie. A rescue, the feline inspired him to ask for donation to the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society instead of presents this year.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_web0812Drew02-1.jpgDrew Burke sits with his cat and constant companion, Winnie. A rescue, the feline inspired him to ask for donation to the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society instead of presents this year. Contributed

Emily Jones

Daily News correspondent

Reach the LaGrange Daily News at 706-884-7311.