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IHGID honors twins who found money and turned it in

by Linda Hiller, staff writer

After Monday, some Jacks Valley Elementary School students may be walking around outside with their heads constantly down.

They’ll be looking for money on the ground – to find and heroically turn in – since they’ve seen what good fortune continues to befall two of their schoolmates who did just that.

If you didn’t hear about 11-year-old twins, Taylor and Ira Kersten-Wines, who found around $200 in a frozen pond behind their Indian Hills house in November, you might have later heard of the Sparks businessmen who were so moved by the boys’ honesty in immediately turning the money in, that they personally delivered $100 to each of the boys.

With their reward money, Ira bought some binoculars and Taylor took two friends out to eat and bought some “awesome” shoes. Pretty soon, though, the boys had settled back in to their pre-hero routine.

But the trustees at the Indian Hills General Improvement District decided to go one step further, making an official proclamation to these boys who personify what’s right with today’s youth.

“It seems like we give a lot of attention to kids when they’re bad, and none when they’re good,” said IHGID trustee Ron Kruse. “We thought it was the right thing for us to really let these boys know that what they did was admirable and worthy of a lot of our attention. So we decided to make a proclamation.”

Monday, Kruse and three other trustees – Dan Hall, Diane Humble-Fornier and Riley Evans – joined Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini and Sgt. Lance Modispacher and county commissioners Bernie Curtis and Kelly Kite in surprising the twins at the school’s bi-weekly “west hall meeting.”

“I’m just floored at all of this,” said the boys’ mother, Maggie, who is a teacher at JVES and is also the mother of Emily, 15. “It’s all just amazing, and it’s neat, because they didn’t have a clue this was going to happen today – it was a complete surprise.”

Called onto the stage to enthusiastic applause from their hallmates, Ira and Taylor were praised by Kruse and presented with proclamation plaques and medallions that he placed around their necks. Kruse cited the boys’ character and honesty as he read the proclamation.

Sheriff Pierini presented the boys each with a new basketball and a backpack of DARE items.

“It might have been easy to keep the money, but instead they had the courage to tell the right people,” he told the kindergarten through 6th grade students in attendance. “I’m sure there are people here who, if given the opportunity, would also do the right thing. I want you all to know that we will honor you, too, if you do something like this.”

“It feels good,” the twins, both students in Susan Hoffman’s 5th grade class, said together.

JVES Principal Pam Gilmartin told the students that Taylor and Ira had previously turned in $90 that a parent dropped at the school’s book fair.

“This wasn’t the first time they did the right thing,” she said.

Hall said he hopes this is just the first of many interactions between IHGID and young people in the neighborhoods.

“We recently implemented a $100 reward for information leading us to anyone who damages IHGID property,” he said. “We really want to get the word out to the kids on this.”

Taylor and Ira now await Feb. 15, the last date the found money can be claimed by whoever lost it. After that, the cash goes to the boys.

Maggie, a single parent since the twins were 4, said she employs the simplest parenting technique with all three of her children, always hoping it will rub off.

“I just try to set a good example,” she said. “You just try to show them by what you do.”