SALEM, Va. – A local 10-year-old chose to give gifts instead of receiving them this year for his birthday. Gabe lives in Salem and turned 10 on Sunday.
For his birthday he wanted to take up donations for the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center, and the community certainly showed up. A number of vehicles drove through his birthday parade and dropped off donations the center needed.
His mom, Stephanie Manus, said it was important to them to help the organization that cares for so many injured and orphaned wildlife each year. “The animals that get injured in the wild, they need help too. I think for us is that you know all animals if we can help them, we will. The rescue center for us is very dear to our heart,” Stephanie said.
Manus and Gabe rescued an injured cardinal that he named Toby. They safely scooped the bird up in a bucket and took it to the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center in Roanoke, where the staff was able to help it fly again. Manus said this was Gabe’s way of saying thank you. He collected a trunk full of supplies and nearly $500 in donations and gift cards.
The wildlife warriors, a local group that supports the SWVA Wildlife Center also gave Gabe a gift of his own.