AP NEWS

Local boy scout fundraising for animal shelters

May 17, 2019

A local Boy Scout is hoping to raise money and supplies for animal shelters in order to earn his Citizenship in the Community merit badge.

Talon Cook, 14, of Pocatello, has been trying for the past three weeks to generate community interest in his fundraisers for the Bannock County Humane Society and the Chubbuck Animal Shelter. And though Talon is autistic, his mom, Heidi Cook, said he doesn’t let it stand in his way.

Talon held a fundraiser at McKee’s Feed Garden and Pet Centers in Chubbuck, where he frequently volunteers by building fences and feeding the petting zoo animals.

Talon developed a love of animals while working at McKee’s. He also has a dog named Bella who will soon begin training to become a service dog, which he said was part of the reason he decided to help animals to earn his merit badge. (The Citizenship in the Community badge requires Scouts to volunteer eight hours of their time to any non-profit organization.)

Though McKee’s customers throughout the day donated a total of $82, Heidi said only three people donated food, toys or supplies.

A GoFundMe page started for the fundraiser has also received little success, earning just $125 out of its $300 goal.

But Heidi said Talon hasn’t let it discourage him.

“His disappointment has only led him to try harder and not give up,” she said. “It’s something he’s doing for the community. I hope the community can come together and help him achieve his goal.”

Currently, Talon and his mom have set up a box at the office of Pocatello High School, where Talon is a student. Heidi said a few students have brought in items, but they are hoping to surpass their goal of $300 worth of food, toys, pet beds and other supplies.

Scouting has been a large part of Talon’s life since he was little.

In fact, Heidi said that February 24 in Pocatello is known as “Talon Cook Day” because he is the youngest Cub Scout to have earned the medal of merit for saving his mom’s life when he was just 5 years old.

Since then, Talon has thrown himself into Boy Scouts.

“It helps me keep my spirit up,” he said, “and I want to earn my merit badges to get my Eagle Scout.”

After receiving his Citizenship in the Community badge, Talon will have just a few more merit badges left before he can earn his Eagle Scout, the highest achievement attainable in the Boy Scouts program.

If you would like to donate any money or items to Talon’s fundraiser, you can call (208) 589-2600 or visit the GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/helping-my-son039s-friend.