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Golden Years, Silver Tappers make donation to boost Avery Sampson’s bike effort

There are times in a person’s life when they come across something that reaches right into their heart to touch their soul and leaves them with a profound desire to show just how much that something has inspired them.

For Ms. Senior Golden Years 2019 Queen Laraine Babbitt, that was just this case this December when she came across an article in the Pahrump Valley Times about a local youngster, Avery Sampson, who had set out on a mission to bring smiles and cheer to local children this Christmas.

Though she may be just 8 years old, this young lady is already doing big things in her community. With the support and encouragement of her father, Scott Sampson, Avery entered the Nevada Cinderella program and achieved top honors, claiming the crown as Miss Nevada Princess for 2021. As a reigning princess, Avery then turned her attention to one of the major focuses of the Cinderella program, community service, and she decided that she wanted to help her local community by giving back to children in need.

Knowing just how much she herself loves to ride her bicycle, Avery set a plan of action into motion, creating a GoFundMe account and raising money to purchase bikes for other youth in the Pahrump Valley. Her efforts then caught the attention of Babbitt and the ladies of the Ms. Senior Golden Years USA organization, as well as their sister organization, the Nevada Silver Tappers, who set out on their own mission to surprise Avery with a special donation.

“I am so impressed by this young lady. She is mature beyond her years,” Babbitt told the Pahrump Valley Times. “And she is setting such a wonderful example for young people to give to others in a time of need and to think of others. She is a bright, shining star. After I read your article, I knew this was something we wanted to get involved with. B.J. (Hetrick-Irwin, Ms. Senior Golden Years and Nevada Silver Tappers founder) has always promoted community awareness and giving for our wonderful town of Pahrump.”

Babbitt and Hetrick-Irwin, along with several other ladies from the Golden Years board of directors and Silver Tappers, made a trip to the local Walmart on Wednesday, Dec. 23, where Avery and a group of girls from the Nevada Cinderella program were hard at work ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, yet another example of the generous and community-oriented nature of these young ladies.

Giddy with delight at the thought of being able to contribute to such a worthy cause, the Golden Years and Silver Tappers members gathered around as Babbitt and Hetrick-Irwin presented Avery with two checks, the money from which was to then be used to help boost Avery’s bike donation initiative.

Hetrick-Irwin donated a check for $100 on behalf of the Nevada Silver Tappers while Babbitt donated another $100 on behalf of the Ms. Senior Golden Years USA. In addition to the monetary donations to help Avery in her mission, Babbitt also purchased a few presents that were intended for Avery herself, as well as presents for the other young ladies of the Nevada Cinderella program who were out ringing the bell for the Salvation Army that afternoon, Gemma, Tayela, Sienna and Lucy.

“I am very thankful for everyone who helped me and happy I was able to help so many kids,” Avery said shortly after the Christmas holiday came to a close. “Doing all of this has made me very proud of myself.”

Scott said his daughter was also overjoyed at the gifts she received from Babbitt, including a very special Cinderella Barbie doll that Avery said she plans to display in her room alongside her Cinderella program trophies and banners.

Avery had started off her effort this year with a modest goal of just 15 bikes but after the word got out, donations kept on coming and Avery was able to more than surpass that goal. In all, Avery was able to donate 54 bicycles to local children, as well as a few scooters, skateboards and dozens upon dozens of toys.

Throughout the initiative, Avery’s father has been lavish in his praise of those who have generously given from their hearts to help her reach, and ultimately exceed, her goals. “This has been so rewarding to be able to help so many families this year,” Scott wrote on his Facebook page after making a bike delivery on Dec. 23. “Thank you to everyone who has donated and helped her be so successful in helping others.”

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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