Justin Riker is going to Washington, D.C.
That's the word from the 14-year-old boy and his grandfather, Robert Schirlls, Thursday evening after donations poured in throughout the day amounting to approximately $3,000.
"I'd just like to say thank you to everybody," Justin said. "I think I have all their addresses, and I'm going to send a postcard or something when I get there."
His story was simple enough: He had not raised enough money to pay the $927 balance for an eighth-grade class trip to Washington, D.C., and had until today to secure his plane ticket.
"We just know that tomorrow we're going to go in and pay for the trip," said Justin's grandfather Thursday evening. "The people who donated for the trip told Justin to have a ball in Washington, D.C. Whatever we do with the rest, it will definitely go into savings."
The straight-A student had done his best to raise funds for the trip. His grandfather, who also takes care of Justin's two siblings, tried to solicit donations from casinos and do what he could. They didn't come close to raising what was needed.
Justin, who is involved in Boy Scouts and Victory Christian Church, touched the hearts of many people who read about his predicament in Wednesday's Nevada Appeal, beginning with an anonymous donor who came by the house early this morning with a check for the remainder of the trip.
"It's a blessing," Schirlls said, hesitant about giving details about the donor.
As many as three other people called Schirlls or the Nevada Appeal early Thursday morning offering to pay the trip in full.
A Navy retiree named Bill came by the Appeal on Thursday afternoon and wrote a check for $100 for Justin to use during his trip.
"I was a Scout leader many years ago, and I understand the boy's situation," he said. "A young man like this deserves to go to Washington, D.C."
A woman named Betty dropped off a $100 bill and a hand-written letter inside a Valentine's Day card for Justin.
"I worked the voting polls, and that was my pay," she said. "I was saving it for something special, and he sounds kinda special."
Employees from Click Bond raised $120 for Justin throughout their workday and put it into his savings account.
"We wish him all the best," said Alex, a production manager.
A couple named Don and Loretta gave $250 for Justin to spend while back East.
"It's a pass-it-on thing," Don said. "It sounds like the kid is trying really hard, and he sounds like a good kid."
One thing is for sure: Justin now has the money to head to Washington, D.C., thanks to the efforts of the community. He plans to take about $500 with him on the trip and was mostly excited Thursday to hear enough was raised to go.
"I've never been across the country, and I want to see the White House and the other stuff that's there," he said.
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com or 881-1219.