In the midwest, farming is taken very seriously, especially when it comes to livestock. Children are started off young with animals of their own, and that includes Blake Kroll of Luxemburg, Wisconsin. The 10 year old was nervously awaiting to hear whether or not his pig named Spot was selected to participate at the Kewaunee County Fair. When he heard that the nearly 300 pound pig was selected, he was instantly excited.
It was a big day for Kroll, particularly because his childhood was not always the easiest. Kroll suffered from multiple medical conditions since the day that he was born that included hearing loss. For much of his first decade of life, Kroll spent a lot of time in the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. The private non-profit hospital did a lot for Kroll, and he wanted to return the favor for them.
So the fourth grader told his father that he wanted to donate some of his winnings to the hospital that kept him going and treated his family like their own. The preliminary events took place on a Thursday in that week earlier in the month and Kroll told his father once again that he wanted his winnings to go to the hospital. In his class, Kroll and Spot won the first place prize and then became the reserve champion in the middleweight class. They even added another title for showmanship for beginners.
As with most county fairs, the animals are then auctioned off. When Kroll led Spot up to auction, he took the auctioneer aside and said that he would be donating all of the proceeds to the Children’s Hospital. After the auctioneer announced it to the crowd, the Algoma Future Farmers of America said that they wanted to donate $500 so that Kroll could keep his earnings from selling Spot.
It didn’t just end there, as plenty of other businesses and organizations started to raise bids of their own in the form of donations for Kroll to be able to keep his money. Eventually, the pig was sold to Luxemburg Milling for $17.25 a pound for a nearly $4,800 total. On top of that, the milling company said that they would be donating another $500. During the auction, a total of $15,500 was raised for the Children’s Hospital.
Kroll’s mother, Kim, said that “It was overwhelming and I felt so grateful. To see these businesses, families and individuals do this was pretty impressive.” With his big haul of nearly $5,000 being taken home, Blake still decided that he didn’t want to keep it and donated it along to the Children’s Hospital. After the auction and Blake’s personal donation, a lot of the people around the county heard about the selfless act and decided to pay it forward themselves.
All in all, more than $20,000 was raised in just a couple of days for the hospital in a scene that could only be described as cinematic, a la “Pay it Forward”. Kim Kroll said that “I just want to say thank you to the auction committee and all the businesses and families. It was Blake’s idea, but it (wouldn’t) have happened unless these businesses and people stood up. With everything else they were doing at the fair, they still wanted to donate to Children’s Hospital and make other kids happy.”
Next week, Blake will be taking along with sizeable check with his family up to Milwaukee to visit the Children’s Hospital and present them with the donation. A lot of people might not get to see random acts of kindness like this, but it can be pretty common in Smalltown, America. Kim Kroll even said herself, “It really points to the strength and generosity of the agricultural community here.”