A little ingenuity and a desire to help World War II veterans like his grandfather have fueled a novel bar mitzvah project for a Buffalo Grove seventh-grader.
He calls it "goblin insurance."
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Just in time for Halloween, 12-year-old Sam Herzog is selling insurance to area homeowners to cover any suspicious trick-or-treat pranks that might turn up on their property this weekend.
For instance, if pumpkins get smashed or toilet paper covers the trees, Herzog will come and clean it up. He is selling insurance to cover just those types of calamities done by mischievous ghouls or goblins and people are taking him up on it.
Already, Herzog has sold more than $800 of insurance, by asking for donations of $5 or more. All of that will go to Honor Flight Chicago.
Herzog will celebrate his bar mitzvah in May at Congregation Beth Am in Buffalo Grove, and as a way to enhance his religious studies, he searched for a service project to plan and carry out.
When he saw his grandfather return to a hero's welcome at Midway Airport after an Honor Flight in August, he knew he had his project, he says.
"It was really cool seeing him and all the other war veterans go on the flight," Herzog says. "I want to raise money so other veterans can go and their children and grandchildren can have the same chance to see them come home."
Herzog's grandfather, Ret. Maj. Albert Chafetz of Northbrook, served as part of the Army Air Force's first search and rescue squadron in the South Pacific. Its members were responsible for the rescue of more than 700 downed fliers in 1944 and 1945, family members say.
Honor Flight Chicago is a nonprofit program that provides local World War II veterans with an all-expenses paid day trip to Washington to visit the World War II memorial and other national landmarks that honor their service.
Terri Herzog said that when her son learned the organization is supported strictly by private donations, and that many veterans are not able to help support the mission financially, the youngster pledged to raise money on his own.
"I thought it was something I could do," Herzog says. "I liked that it was helping people, and that at $5, everyone could afford it."
His insurance covers only damage done on the day of Halloween, he stresses. "That's important."
At press time, Herzog and his family had cut off selling any more insurance, but encourage anyone interested in making a donation to Honor Flight Chicago.
Make a donation
Help support Honor Flight Chicago and Sam Herzog's bar mitzvah project.
- Mail donations made out to Honor Flight Chicago to 938 W. Montana St., Chicago, 60614, to the attention of Mary Pettinato.
- More information: www.honorflightchicago.org.