11-year-old boy mows lawns to buy gravestone for father he never met
Brandon Bakke never met his biological father, but decided to pay tribute to his memory with this amazing gesture
Like many 11-year-olds, Brandon Bakke spent the summer mowing lawns to raise money. However, unlike most kids his age, Brandon didn’t spend his money on himself, but for a stranger’s gravestone—his father’s.
Brandon was adopted at birth by a family in Fargo, North Dakota. Last January, Brandon began to ask his adoptive family about his biological family, as ABC reports. He soon found out that his father had recently died, and because his family couldn’t afford to buy a monument, he was buried in an unmarked grave.
This broke Brandon’s heart.
“I felt like I should do this for him, and that he’d be proud of me”
“I don’t think anyone should go unknown,” Brandon told The Huffington Post. “I felt like I should do this for him, and that he’d be proud of me.”
Brandon had saved up $175 from mowing lawns and selling lemonade all summer. He had been planning on buying himself a hoverboard, but decided that he needed to buy his father a gravestone instead.
“I told him it would cost a lot more than that,” his mother Brandy said. “And he said, ‘Then, I’ll do what I have to do.’”
Read more about how Brandon raised money for his biological father's gravestone on the next page.
He got in touch with Dakota Monument and told them what he needed. The company, which specializes in cemetery memorials, asked him to come in and collaborate with the company’s designers and artists to create the perfect gravestone.
Brandon’s biological sister, whom he had connected with via Facebook, had told him several things about his father, and he worked those details into the gravestone’s design. “I knew I wanted to put a bowl of soup on his gravestone, because he loved to cook,” Brandon said. “He also liked to help people, so I wanted to put hands on it, giving someone soup.”
Brandon kept mowing lawns to raise money. When he made enough to pay for the gravestone ($325), he carried his jar of savings into Dakota Monument, and finally saw the fruit of his labor. To acknowledge his hard work, Dakota Monument decided to donate the gravestone, allowing Brandon to give his money to a fund for families who need help paying for memorials.
“I’m really proud of him,” said Brandy Bakke, Brandon’s adoptive mother. “He’s a very mature, smart young man and he’s really going to go places in life.”
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