2013 ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Joseph Gerard

Posted at: 05/01/2013 2:00 PM
Updated at: 08/29/2013 12:52 PM

There were a lot of bracelets and they were all made by one 12-year-old boy. Joe Gerard has been doing a lot of braiding and it’s all for the Bay View YMCA.

Last June, the rock wall at the Bay View YMCA was burned down. It was ruled an arson and when Joe heard the news he said, “I really just wanted to do something to help.”

“I'll never forget his first question was, why would somebody do that?” Jason Brannigan is a youth sports staff associate at the Bay View Y and will be camp director this year. “It's really promising to see somebody at that age take the initiative to do something for the community and so selfless.”

While most kids were enjoying their summer vacations, Joe was busy bracelet-making. “I started making paracord bracelets to help support the rebuilding process.”

And he made them by the dozens and sold them for $5 each. Gerard said, “I couldn't make them fast enough.”

Gerard’s first goal was to raise $500 for a new rock wall but after the first day, he was halfway there. And by the end of the year, he had raised more than $5,600.

Joe is also a Boy Scout with Troop 363 in Webster. This year his troop raised money through a can and bottle drive to donate to the West Webster Fire Department. He has also volunteered at Foodlink and a refugee camp through his church. “I learned that I’m one of the more fortunate people, that not everyone has it as good as I do.”

And now a new rock wall is being built and will be ready for camp this summer.