This kid is only 10 years old, and he already has it all figured out: find what brings you joy, embrace it, and spread your joy around the world. Isn’t that what life is all about? Isn’t that what makes life worth living? He’s going to be just fine — and he’s making sure others are going to be just fine, too. What a guy!
10-year-old Carl loves his comics. He has a blog, Carl’s Comix, devoted to all his favorites, from Spider-Man to Batman to Iron Man, and he does reviews and interviews as well.
He loves to share the joy of comics as much as he loves the comics themselves. And in an incredible gesture, he gathered together more than 3,000 comic books to donate them to deployed soldiers and veterans in the hospital.
After being given the idea by one of his subscribers, Carl picked out 300 of his own comic books and set up his donation through all the proper channels.
In true superhero fashion, Carl came up with an ingenious plan to collect more books: he went to a comic book show, stood on top of a table, and yelled out his plan at the top of his lungs. The collectors and dealers and attendees and even a few writers came through and by the end of the day, he had about 3,500 comic books.
His first donation of about 400 comic books went to Lyons Veterans Hospital in Basking Ridge.
The staff there were overjoyed with Carl’s donation and told him they would go to “veterans in the hospital who needed something fun to read and cheer them up.” But of course he still had more than 3,000 comic books in his possession.
Jennifer Myers, who works in the public affairs office of the Department of Veterans Affairs and helped set up the hospital donation, had a great idea for the rest of the comics.
She thought they would be a great donation for soldiers overseas, and Carl agreed. He and his dad had to deliver them to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, where they had cooked up an amazing way to thank Carl for his donations.
When Carl and his dad showed up to the base with eight long boxes of comic books, a parking spot had been reserved for “Master Carl.”
After being greeted by Master Sergeant Dominick Griego, they got some help with their cargo and an amazing tour began. It doesn’t look like he got the same tour just any visitor would get, either.
For starters, Carl got to see the inside of a C-17 cargo plane, including the cockpit — they even gave him a turn opening and closing the tracks used for loading and unloading.
And he got a front row seat to a KC-10 and a helicopter landing. After a lesson on the history of the base, Carl received a formal welcome from the Base Commander, Rayna Lowery.
Carl got to try on some of the gear soldiers use, including a 35-pound vest and an 8-pound helmet. “It was almost like I had my own me on my head,” he wrote.
To show her thanks, Commander Lowery presented Carl with a coin of excellence in front of the whole base. “I was so surprised I could barely stand,” he wrote.
Chief Master Sergeant Nicole Sheleva gave Carl a coin of excellence, which she gives to anyone who “does a spectacular job,” he says. “I felt really honored!”
Lastly, Master Sergeant Griego awarded Carl a coin from his own collection that commemorated his time in Afghanistan. “I do not think I have ever felt as special and welcome as everybody at Joint Base MDL made me feel,” he wrote.
It sounds like the feeling was mutual as well. As Master Sergeant Griego noted, his visit raised morale a ton at the base.
“All of the servicemembers were genuinely interested to see this 10 year old on the flightline — it was awesome to see legitimate smiles as he met with Soliders, Sailors and Airmen around the base,” he said.
Master Sergeant Griego said that Joint Base MDL would see that the comic books made it to soldiers around the world. “These comic books are a piece of home for our warfighters downrange, it’s an amazing thing that Carl has done,” he said.
Each comic book will have a flyer with it that encourages the recipient to send a picture back to Carl to say thanks.