Girl, 8, surprised by vets after fundraiser

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — An 8-year-old girl received a big surprise Wednesday afternoon in Kalamazooo.

Isabella Grimes had no idea why so many people were in her classroom for a special announcement, to her surprise, it was all for her.

“Here she comes,” kids in her class said as they waited for Isabella, who walked into class with a smile.

Veterans showed up at her school to thank her in person for a donation she raised with her lemonade stand.

“Good afternoon boys and girls,” the grand organizer for 40 & 8, Frank Warren said to the class at the Montessori School. “I would like to have a young lady come up so I can present her with some certificates of appreciation.”

“Thank you for everything that you have done for the Talon Group Honor Flight,” another veteran said.

A row of veterans thanked Isabella for her $1,500 donation to Talons Out Honor Flight — an organization which flies veterans to Washington, D.C. for free.

Grimes raised the money at her lemonade stand in just three days over the summer.

“It started out where I wanted a lemonade stand, and my dad thought I could have a lemonade stand to raise money for charities. I thought that it was a really good idea,” Isabella said.

“What other 8-year-old has her mindset on helping World War II veterans? It’s so selfless. I’m really blessed as a father,” Isabella’s father, Daniel said.

It started small, then quickly grew to larger events like one at the Speedway in Hartford.

“You know, as a young boy, I never thought ‘what can I do for a veteran?’ But you did it,” Warren said.

The American Legion gave Grimes a plaque, vest with honorary pins and a jacket. Her funds will go towards an honor flight that will head to Washington, D.C. early next year.

“I am very surprised, I did not know this. This is just amazing,” Isabella said.

She plans to continue her lemonade stand at the Kalamazoo County Fair next year.