Boonsboro High School student Connor Ickes has made it his mission to place pennies U.S. veteran graves.
Connor was walking through Antietam National Cemetery with his mother, Erin Ickes, and they noticed pennies, quarters and other items placed on the graves.
“A penny means that you’re showing your respect to the fallen veteran,” said Connor. “I told my mom no one should be forgotten like there’s a book that has everyone’s names in it but some don’t, they just have numbers. People respect them but they don’t know what they did in the war so I wanted to show my respect in that way.”
Connor’s Mother Erin Ickes said that she couldn’t be prouder of her son.
“When we first started coming, he liked to clean the graves, cause he said it was very important to take care of them,” said Erin. “One day he saw the coins and started reading about them and he said we have to put a penny on every grave momma.”
The surrounding communities have gotten involved with Connor’s Penny Project too. Cub Master and U.S. Navy Veteran Steven Staley got his pack 16 to collect change and donated a huge bucket filled with pennies to Connor.
As a veteran himself, Staley said Connor’s project really does mean the world to him.
“Connor’s project to me means heck of a lot, not gonna lie,” said Staley. “So many of our veterans are forgotten about, and their graves sites are in disrepair and dilapidated and I’ll walk past the older cemeteries and they’re just very sad looking. Connor’s project will help bring light back to those veterans and give a lot of meaning to what they served for.”
Over the past four years, Connor has placed over 20,000 pennies on graves, and he doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.