Young boy uses birthday to donate $1,200 for St. Paul K-9 to get bullet-proof vest

The St. Paul k-9 Unit is the benefactor for a St. Paul boy's birthday.

- For most kids, birthdays are a chance to see what they can get, but a 9-year-old in St. Paul has been using his birthdays to see how much he can give instead.  On Saturday, he’ll be presenting a check for $1,200 to the St. Paul Police canine unit for a K-9 to get a bullet-proof vest.

“Some dogs have vests and some dogs didn't and I didn't think that was fair,” Ethan said.

It all started when he was turning just 4 years old. After being overwhelmed with gifts for his birthday, Ethan's mom suggested not having a party the following year and finding a cause to donate to.

So instead of collecting piles of presents, the animal-lover raised more than $1,200 dollars to give to the Lake Superior Zoo to rebuild after flooding caused some of the animals to escape.

“Every other 5-year-olds reaction might be ‘what do you mean I don't get a party?’” Jennifer Flint, Ethan’s mom said. “A lot of talk over the years has been it’s better to give and have other people benefit from the generosity you have in your family.”

Since then, Ethan has raised $1,000 for the giraffe exhibit at the Como Zoo and nearly $700 for frogs and snakes through the Minnesota Herpetological Society.  

This Saturday, he’s giving $1,200 dollars to St. Paul Police for a K-9 officer to get a bullet-proof vest. Ethan said next year he will likely raise money for either penguins or turtles.

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