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State Honoree

Braden Snyder

Virginia

Braden Snyder, 12, of Richmond, Va., a sixth-grader at Tuckahoe Middle School, initiated a campaign that raised $21,000 to purchase equipment that enables firefighters of the Henrico County Fire Department to see through smoke to rescue people. Braden, inspired by a similar project undertaken by his cousins in another state, met with the fire department to find out if they needed this special thermal imaging unit. When he learned that the department wanted one, but could not afford it, Braden decided to take on the project. He started a letter-writing campaign to solicit donations, recruited volunteers to help, and attended various public events to seek donations from large crowds of people. It took Braden just one year to raise the $21,000, which purchased one thermal imaging unit and left $6,000 towards the purchase of a second one. “Anyone who is in a house or building that catches fire now has a better chance to survive,” said Braden, who plans to continue his campaign until he is able to purchase two additional units for the fire department.