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Mt. Pleasant teen devotes project to veterans

| Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Armbrust Christian Academy senior student Jonathan Stull of Mt. Pleasant will be holding a fundraiser at the school on Jan. 31 for the Fisher House, a Washington, D.C.-based foundation that provides homes around major Veterans Administrations hospitals for families and ailing soldiers to stay while they are receiving treatment.

Jonathan Stull, 18, of Mt. Pleasant always knew he wanted to help veterans with his graduation project.

“I considered landscaping and community service,” said Stull, a senior at Armbrust Wesleyan Christian Academy on Route 819. “I knew those weren't for me, so I decided to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, and it just felt right.”

Stull began by putting collection cans in stores, offices and classrooms.

But the project got a new focus following a conversation with his aunt, Terri Honeycutt, who is stationed at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C.

“She told me about the Fisher House in D.C. and how they accept donations from fundraisers and other events,” said Stull. “It stuck with me, and my senior project suddenly changed and took off from there.”

The Fisher House Foundation, founded in 1990, offers temporary housing for military veterans and active service members, along with their families, at major military medical centers.

The nonprofit, which opened a Fisher House in Pittsburgh in 2012, also provides comfort and support for soldiers during recovery following combat and injury.

Stull and his family received an exclusive tour of the Fisher House in Washington, D.C., over Thanksgiving break. What most impressed him, he said, was the drive to accommodate all medical needs for wounded veterans.

“This fundraiser is important to me, because I love the United States and what it stands for,” said Stull. “It's more personal than the original project, because I saw what I'm raising money for. It's a great organization. I plan on joining the Army or Navy myself.”

Stull comes from a long list of family veterans, so his plans came as no surprise to his mother.

“We're very proud that he wants to represent his country and give back to his people,” Brenda Stull said.

Volunteers from Stull's family, school, church and Fisher House were instrumental in planning a fundraiser to be held Jan. 31 at the school.

The fundraiser — which is really three events — seeks to raise $1,500 for Fisher House.

The first event, to be held during school hours, is designed for younger students. Activities will include child-friendly physical training, balancing acts, relay races, crafts, a movie and more.

That evening, Stull will hold an event for veterans from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the school.

“The goal is to honor our local veterans,” said Stull. “We're happy to have the Armbrust veterans organization joining us, and we hope a few more local posts will, too.”

The event, open to the public, will include presentations and free refreshments.

The highlight will be the much-anticipated results from a “Pie in the Face” contest, with students casting votes for their favorite faculty members. Votes will cost 25 cents each or $1 for five.

The top three will all have a pie splatted into their face at the military fete.

Then Stull will move on to the final event — Teen Rec Night for 12- to 18-year-olds.

The event, to be held 8-10:30 p.m. in the gymnasium, is open to the public.

It will offer sports, games, activities, food and more. The concession stand will be open to help meet the goal for Fisher House.

Jonathan and his family plan to deliver the donations to Fisher House. Donations will also be accepted during the first two weeks of February.

“These men and women saw and experienced so many things throughout history, and they deserve to be recognized. Even if we can't find the words to thank them, we always have our actions, and this fundraiser is one of them,” Stull said.

Kaylie Harper is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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