Two local boys, Eli and Braylen Casto, recently showed their support for the Jackson County Troop Link organization by making pretty incredible donations.

Eight-year-old Eli Casto has been busy collecting items with his Boy Scout troop to donate to the Troop Link care package mission. He recently celebrated his birthday and instead of gifts, he asked for donations for military service members deployed overseas.

Eli’s mother explained the Troop Link mission to him, and he felt led to donate a little extra. He has friends who have fathers who are deployed and he knew how special the care package mission was to them.

“The military keeps all of us safe. The people who are in the military have a hard job and sometimes have to spend a lot of time away from home,” Eli said. “We all should let them know that we care. I have some friends that don’t have their dads home right now. It would be hard to not have Christmas with my dad. I’m glad that my friends helped me send things to them and hopefully made them happy.”

Eli’s mother, Cassie Casto, was very proud of her son for his selfless act.

“He is a good kid and has a big heart. I’m proud of him for wanting to help others, especially when your birthday is usually the opportunity for the day to be all about you. He was more than willing to share his day and try to make a difference to others that sacrifice their lives and time with their own families to help keep us safe and free,” Cassie Casto said.

Ten-year-old Braylen Casto is a video gamer who broadcasts his gameplay live on Facebook as Bray The Reaper. He has nearly 13,000 followers from all over the world. Many of those followers are veterans that had been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan while serving our country.

“I wanted to give back to the community that supports me. Many members from my online community also mailed me items that were donated to the Troop Link,” Casto said.

Casto plays his games with an Amazon registry that includes a list of care package items for the troops. He has had an amazing response from other gamers sending him care package items to donate.

“As his parents, we are extremely proud that he used his platform to give kindness back into the world. We feel honored to have Braylen as our son. He has a very empathetic soul and loves to spread kindness,” Megan Casto, Braylen’s mother, said.

These two young men have gone above and beyond in support of our military service members.

“Their support of our troops is appreciated and will definitely put a smile on the faces of our service members,” Barb Strickland, coordinator for the Jackson County Troop Link, said. “Getting these items will also assist in boosting their morale while so far from home serving our country.”

Both Eli and Braylen chose to do what they felt was the right thing to do. They wanted to do their part to help those helping us at home.

“I believe being in the military is something that only the bravest of the brave can do,” Braylen Casto said. “They work and fight hard to keep our country safe.”

For more information on the care package mission, check out their Facebook page under Jackson County Troop Link or contact Barb Strickland at 304-372-6806.