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Bzrk 180. Check out Ian now! Cool kid, H/U

By Conor Harrison
Special to The Daily News Published October 7, 2008

KERRVILLE - In a time of loss, third-grader Ian Arneson isn't one to sit and cry. A young man of action, he decided to get to work, helping himself and others in a time of need.

Ian and his family arrived in Kerrville several weeks ago from Galveston, where Hurricane Ike forced them from their home.

Ian and his family, along with his pet dog and two hedgehogs, came to stay with his grandparents, Jerry and Elia Torres, while the hurricane pounded their home.

For months, Arneson had been saving money looking after neighbors' pets in Galveston.

His grandmother was looking after his savings for him, and in a cruel twist of fate, sent him the money a few days before the storm hit.

The family believes the money might have been in the mailbox when the hurricane devastated the coast.

"Our house sits on 14-foot stilts," said Ian's mother, Veronica.

"The water level came up at least 12 feet, destroying the garage. Our house actually looked pretty good compared to some of our neighbors."

Instead of pouting about his lost savings, Ian decided he would try to re-earn it.

Last Saturday, he hosted a bake sale in front of his grandparents' home on Josephine Street.

"My mom did a lot of the baking, my grandma made candy and my grandpa made tacos," Ian said. "I made like $300. I asked to pay them back for the work they did, but they said no."

"He didn't have the money in his hand, so he was determined to make it back again," Veronica said.

But it's what he did with the money that makes Ian special.

He donated more than a third of the proceeds, $110, to the local Red Cross chapter to help with Hurricane relief.

"I even got my receipt," Ian said proudly. "I don't know what I'm going to use the rest of the money for, though."

The local Red Cross chapter was overwhelmed with the compassion Ian showed.

"I think he is just a really special kid," said Kristy Vandenberg of the Hill Country Red Cross chapter.

"To not only be affected by the storm personally, but to be thinking about others.

"We need a bunch of people like him. He's really amazing, and we'll make sure this money goes where it is needed."

As for Ian, he is attending Tom Daniels Elementary awaiting word as to when he can go home.

But, he doesn't seemed too concerned with his current predicament.

"I've gotten used to being here," Ian said. "I'm not really worried about our house. My dad is down there right now.

"I have a good friend staying in San Antonio, and we might have a sleepover soon."

The (Kerrville) Daily Times is a sister newspaper to The Daily News.
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