Girl uses $100 prize to cheer among animals

November 30, 1999|by JANET HEIM

While other children were finalizing their lists for Santa, Sarah Troxell, 9, was drafting the letter that would add some joy to the lives of homeless animals.

Her father, Tim Troxell, Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission executive director, showed her a letter from Herald-Mail Editorial Page Editor Bob Maginnis. Maginnis invited readers to write in with ideas on how they would share $100 to make Christmas brighter for others in the community.

With a heart for animals, Sarah immediately thought of the Humane Society of Washington County. Her own dog, a 14-year-old black Labrador retriever named Ali, had died over the July Fourth weekend.

In Sarah's letter ? which Maginnis believes is the only letter sent in by a child this year ? she said she would buy food, toys, treats, leashes and collars for the animals. Her gifts were to come with a personal touch ? her desire to spend a little time with each animal as she gave them their gift.


Sarah submitted her letter, along with 27 other readers. Thanks to three anonymous donors, all who wrote in were given $100 to put their plans into action and were to receive a book, "Daily Readings from 'Your Best Life Now,'" by Joel Osteen.

Several days after Christmas, Sarah, her father and her 11-year-old brother, Conner, went shopping and purchased about 80 items for the shelter animals. They then headed to the Humane Society on Maugansville Road, where they spent almost two hours visiting with the animals ? dogs, cats, rabbits, a ferret, guinea pig and an iguana.

It was Sarah's first time at the animal shelter.

"It made me feel really sad that there were that many animals without homes," said Sarah Troxell, who is a fourth-grader at Paramount Elementary School.

Tim Troxell said he and his wife, Sue, encourage their children to think of others first. Sarah has been involved with service projects through Girl Scouts and her church, Church of the Nazarene, but this is the first time she's taken on a project by herself.

Sarah, who lives on Chippendale Circle, said she felt "really proud" of her efforts to help the animals and is hoping to visit the animals on a monthly basis.

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