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Dry Ridge boy finds best gift is giving to those in need

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Sure Ben Tanner wants stuff for his birthday and Christmas, but he’d rather see children who may not have as much as he does have something under their tree on Christmas morning.


Thanks to Ben’s generosity, several children woke up to a better Christmas with presents that Ben donated to the Crittenden Baptist Church’s annual holiday campaign.


This year instead of gifts for himself, Ben asked his family and friends to give him money or gift cards for his birthday, which totaled $230. He took the money and bought toys and books and gave them to the church.
“He’s an only child, but last Christmas he decided that he didn’t need anything,” said mom, Michelle Tanner.


Eleven-year-old Ben’s generosity started when he found out that Santa may live closer to his Dry Ridge home than he realized. Michelle’s work adopts a family every year through Salvation Army and Ben helped her shop. His mother explained that some families don’t have a lot for Christmas and that got him to thinking.
When the tornado ripped through Crittenden in March, Ben went to his closet and picked out clothes to donate to families impacted by the natural disaster.
told her hairdresser, Shawna Slaughter, who told her husband, Bryan Slaughter, about Ben’s generosity, so Bryan enlisted Ben’s help this year in several projects of the Crittenden Masonic Lodge including preparing food baskets to needy families at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Ben has been attending events at Crittenden Baptist and volunteered to entertain kids during the Christmas party. While the kids were enjoying a visit with Santa, their parents were upstairs selecting toys for Christmas.
“I know that it’s not all about me,” Ben said.
Ben plans to keep on donating, maybe alternating getting gifts and donating every other year.


“I want to start saving for a car and important stuff,” said Ben, a student at Twenhoffel Middle School.
Ben did have a birthday party on Sept. 12 and went to Walton Park where he played basketball. He said his family and friends thought his gift idea was “awesome.”
“We’re very proud of him,” said Michelle, also speaking on behalf of Ben’s dad, Bobby.
Ben spent Christmas with family.
“I like giving to others,” he said. “Oh, and I like getting gifts too.”