Nearly $10,000 Raised
By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – Now that’s the way to end a fair sale!!! After a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Houston County Fair and Youth Livestock Show returned in 2021 and it provided a lesson in humanity no one anticipated.
Aubrey Waits, 11, is a fifth-grade student at Latexo Elementary and in her third year of showing animals at the county fair, she decided to show a hog. Aubrey made the Sale of Champions and as luck would have it, her animal was the last one to be brought into the show ring.
That’s when the tears started to flow. You see, Aubrey had learned about the tragic death of DPS Trooper Chad Walker from her father, Richard Waits. Her dad also told her the Limestone County Fair Association had auctioned off a pin of rabbits – raised by the fallen trooper’s daughter – that brought in nearly $100,000, by the time all the add-ons had been counted.
Speaking with KTRE-TV, Richard said “I thought about it for a while and took the story to Aubrey. I explained to her what happened and what the situation was. I told her I thought it would be pretty cool if we could do something similar to help the family out. Then, I left it at that.”
Aubrey took her dad’s words to heart and when it was her turn to show, she asked the announcer to inform the buyers that all the money she raised would be donated to Trooper Walker’s family.
The bids started rolling as the tears started flowing and when the final bid from Len Glawson came in, he donated the hog back to Aubrey to raise more money. All-in-all, Aubrey raised nearly $10,000 to help out a family she didn’t even know.
On Monday of this last week, Aubrey and her mom, Trista, spoke with The Messenger about her act of kindness.
“I donated my money to the trooper. My dad saw that – I think his daughter – raised a lot of money for her family (at the Limestone County Fair). He told me about it and I thought about it and decided I wanted to do it, too,” Aubrey said.
She said she worked with her hog, who she named Daisy, for about an hour everyday and got her up to nearly 300 (294) pounds.
“We raised roughly $10,000,” Trista said. “There is still some coming in. She was the very last one to make it into the premium sale. The way they did the sale, she ended up being the very last sale item to come in.”
She added, “My husband had told (Houston County Fair Association Secretary/Treasurer) Beverly (Moore) what she wanted to do so Beverly wrote up a little thing and the auctioneer announced it when she came in to the ring.”
Trista explained the hog went for $2,500 and then the add-ons were approximately $5,000. Then, the buyer gave Daisy back to Aubrey to re-sell (to Joe Robinson) which raised another $2,300.
Asked for her thoughts as the bids began to skyrocket, Aubrey smiled shyly and said, “I really don’t like a lot of attention but I was shocked and stuff. I had to think about it, because that was the first time I had heard the full story. I thought about it and that’s what I decided to do. I was really happy that I was able to donate to them, but I was also sad because I had to let the pig go.”
Reminded she was now in the spotlight, Aubrey smiled that same little smile and said, “It’s kind of cool.”
“It was emotional,” Trista said. “I didn’t even know my husband had told her about this. I had a sick kid at home so I didn’t get to spend as many hours up at the fair with them like I normally do. She stayed up there with her daddy after the show on Thursday. They stayed up there late and he told me about it the next day because I was already asleep when they got home. He said they had talked about it and Aubrey said she wanted to do something for them. I’m proud of her. That’s a lot of money and a big decision. It is an honor to be able to give this to the (Walker) family.”
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.