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FairfaxProceeds from lemonade stand aid Great Falls Freedom Memorial

Proceeds from lemonade stand aid Great Falls Freedom Memorial

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Great Falls residents Ava and Holden Leshock did a brisk business July 4 at their lemonade stand, which was built from old boards and had a hand-painted sign.

Neighborhood customers slaked their thirst with a cool drink on the hot day, many tipping generously above the 25-cent sales price. By day’s end, the young entrepreneurs tallied more than $50 in proceeds.

Ava, 7, and Holden, 5, had in mind many toys and treats on which to spend the money. But they also considered a more charitable use for the funds.
After some deliberation, inspired by their father’s service in both the Army and Navy, the siblings told their parents, Nick and Nina Leshock, that they wished to donate the proceeds “to honor those who have served our country.”

The children had attended ceremonies at the Great Falls Freedom Memorial, located behind Great Falls Library. Through their mother, they e-mailed Freedom Memorial board president Andy Wilson and asked if they could present their donation at a monthly meeting.

“I got a tear in my eye when I got this e-mail,” Wilson said.

On the evening of July 26, Ava and Holden brought their bucket filled with $50 in small bills and coins to the Freedom Memorial board meeting. Also present were their parents and Ava’s Brownie troop co-leaders Kate Urban and Lindsay Harper, along with their children.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Wilson invited the Leshock children to present their gift. They placed their bucket on the table in front of him.

Wilson thanked the Leshocks and praised their generosity and love of country. The board immediately approved a resolution of appreciation.

Urban and Harper commended the children for being aware of the greater good and giving to a deserving organization rather than treating themselves to a toy or something else.

Wilson agreed, adding that the “true credit goes to their parents for instilling that sense of community in their young children.”

The Leshock family has lived in Great Falls since 2019. Nick Leshock attended the U.S. Naval Academy, served as a surface-warfare officer and later transferred to the U.S. Army to finish his military service as a paratrooper. Nina Leshock has had a long career in federal procurement and acquisitions.

“When we asked the kids what they wanted to do for the Fourth of July, starting a lemonade stand was near the top of the list,” the couple said. “Ava and Holden are good helpers in both the kitchen and the woodshop, so we were up and running in no time. It was a wonderful surprise later to learn that they wanted to donate the proceeds.”

The Great Falls Freedom Memorial, created in 2004, honors all who have served the country and especially Great Falls residents who gave “the last full measure of devotion,” including six who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, memorial leaders said.

The memorial hosts three annual ceremonies, on Memorial Day, Sept. 11, and Veterans’ Day, as well as a 5K race on July 4. For more information, visit www.gffreedom.org.

–Bruce Fein, Great Falls Freedom Memorial board member

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