Young boy volunteers time to help veterans

By Julie Rossman

Correspondent

Keith Biermann is a young man with a big heart, who at just 9 years old, knows he’s got a future in the military.

The boy attended Rochester’s Day in the Country festival on Saturday and bought an old army helmet at a rummage sale right away. Then, he spotted an old army truck, where members of Rochester’s VFW Post 11038 were selling poppies for the annual poppy drive to benefit Veterans Assistance Programs.

Nine-year-old Keith Biermann (second from right) Waterford, volunteered to sell poppies for members of Rochester's VFW Post 11038 during Rochester's Day in the Country event on Saturday. Also pictured, from left are: Phil Gruenewaldt, Joseph Jardas and Michael Fischer.

Keith asked if he could help and the post members gladly obliged, giving him some poppies and a money can.

Keith’s grandmother, Barbara Kimball, came to Rochester with her grandson but she said they didn’t stay together long.

“He saw that Army truck, and off he went,” she said.

He didn’t just sit at the booth and wait for folks to come by, but walked up and down the crowded streets of Rochester, politely asking people if they’d like to buy a poppy to support the veterans.

According to Post Commander Michael Fischer, the boy returned at least seven times with a full can of money and asking for more poppies.

“In fact, he was holding money in his hand because no more could be stuffed into the can,” Fischer said. “Each time he would salute me and ask for another can,” he added.

“I like helping the vets here,” Keith said. “It’s fun to hear stories about battles and all.”

Fischer said he and his fellow post members were quite astonished that a boy his age took the time and energy to help them.

“He was so well mannered and polite and actually, truly liked helping us sell poppies – without asking for anything in return,” Fischer said. “He just wanted to help us veterans.”

Keith says he’s already planning on a future in the military – Navy, to be exact.

“You get to travel around the world on a huge ship,” he said.

Fischer said with his enthusiasm, he thinks Keith will be a great match for military service.

“With his honesty, happy-go-lucky personality and his attitude, the military will benefit,” he said.

Keith’s grandmother was full of pride when talking about what her grandson did all day. “I’m just so proud of him – he made my day,” she said.

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