by Jonathan Weaver
A week ago, 12-year-old Colin Kline was worried that his friend wouldn’t have any gifts for Christmas.
December 18, Colin’s friend, Zander Rehrer, Zander’s younger brother, Brandon, and their parents were victims of a house fire along North Water Street in Kittanning that destroyed most of their belongings and Christmas gifts.
The next morning, the Rehrer Brothers were not on the school bus, but Colin – a sixth grader at West Hills Intermediate in East Franklin Township – was already brainstorming how he could help, and decided to take one of his father’s firefighter boots on the bus to raise money before school let out for the holidays.
“(Zander) was my friend,” Colin said.
Father, Earl –Kittanning Hose Company #1 2nd Assistant Chief who battled the flames of the evening fire – said Colin text messaged him the idea and Colin’s goodwill spread to Bradigan’s Inc. Operations Manager Andy Bradigan and other employees.
“Not too many 12-year-olds would do something like this,” Earl, said, after he gave his son $10 to donate.
Mother, Tonya, was also “very proud” of her son.
In about 10 minutes at the company Christmas party December 20, about 40 employees and their families at Kittanning Country Club donated $230 before Bradigan and father, Paul, announced the company would also match donations – totaling a $460 check presented Tuesday.
Bradigan – who has built a rapport with Colin during the past three years – was impressed with Colin’s attitude.
“It was just a small way for the company to support Colin and his efforts to raise money for this family,” Bradigan said. “This time of year, it’s all about giving back – and for a 12-year-old to want to do this is very, very special. It’s a great thing he’s doing.”
Colin collected about $50 – through dollar bills, change and even a gift card – on the school bus, meaning the Rehrer Family had more than $500 to celebrate Christmas with yesterday.