To say Tyler Caplinger had a successful fair might be an understatement.
Caplinger was the Reserve Sheep Champion and he didn’t fair too bad with his other project either.
But what he did with some of the money he earned during the sale of one of those projects says more about his character.
The junior at Eaton High School donated nearly $600 to the Preble County Victim Witness Program, a program that is close to his family.
Caplinger’s grandmother, Madonna Creager, volunteers for the program, and the two had been discussing what he was going to do with the money. That’s where the idea came to donate the money.
The two approached Brenda Miller, the Victim Advocate for the Victim Witness program, a day before the Sale of Champions and informed her Tyler would be donating the amount of his second project to the program.
“Me and my grandma talked about what I was going to use the money for, for my reserve champion, and she thought maybe I would be willing to donate it a charity or something,” Tyler said. “She’s big into the Victim Witness and she likes helping all those people out. I like helping people and anyway that I can help somebody out, I would do it.”
Tyler, who has been involved with 4-H since the third grade, said he knows how important the program is to his grandmother and the decision was an easy one.
“It just seems like it’s a good organization and helps a lot of people out,” he said. “We’re so close and she helps me out whenever I need it. There’s a lot of stuff I couldn’t have done without her help.”
In addition to his grandmother, Caplinger noted there are several people who have contributed to his success.
“I appreciate everybody’s support that’s helped me out. There have been a lot of people who have helped me out through the years,” he said.
Miller said the donation will go into a trust fund to help victims of crime.
“A lot of times we have victims that need counseling and maybe they don’t have the money to pay for that. So we are going to use his money to help some of our victims get some counseling,” she said. “We were overwhelmed. I was blown away. I couldn’t believe somebody thought of us. He could have very easily taken that money and put it toward his education along with what he had gotten with the reserve (champion). He not only wanted to do that for us but his grandmother too. He knew how much our program meant to her.”
Preble County Prosecutor Marty Votel spoke of Caplinger’s character.
“It was incredible. For such a young age, he’s got a lot of insight. He’s a man for others and put his money where his mouth was. It was very heartwarming both to our program and to his grandmother. All of us took a lot of pride in Tyler and his selflessness so much so that our other idea we’re going to run forward with is to have a 4-H Camp Scholarship every year in Tyler’s name,” Votel said.
Votel said his office is also looking to give back to the 4-H community.
“Certainly, 4-H had a lot to do with turning out such a great kid like Tyler. It would be great if we gave that opportunity to other kids in our community. We’re going to use some of the proceeds from our annual Victim Witness 5K, that we have ever year, to establish annual scholarships to send some deserving kids to 4-H Camp with the intent of producing a lot more Tyler Caplingers in the future,” Votel said. “It’s not just the money. It was a gift of his own time and talents. It was really a meaningful gift.”