SAWYER Sawyer High School freshman Preston Miller spearheaded the collection of almost 900 pairs of shoes for the organization Soles for Souls. All of the shoes will be donated to needy people overseas and in poor areas in the United States.
Preston said the project got started last fall when he was looking for a community service project he could do as part of a leadership class at the school. He had heard about Soles for Souls, a charity that Air Force personnel participate in, and contacted the organization. They sent him a couple of collection boxes that were soon overflowing with shoes, especially after Preston spoke about the project during Mass at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Minot.
When the shoes were collected in December and January at Our Lady of Grace and at Sawyer High School, there were plastic bags filled with shoes surrounding the boxes and soon additional boxes had to be found.
Andrea Johnson/MDN - - Sawyer High School freshman Preston Miller displays some of the shoes he helped collect for the organization Soles for Souls.
Preston said people saw it as a great opportunity to help others out and also clear out their closets of perfectly good, but unworn shoes. Some people even bought new shoes to donate to Soles for Souls.
Preston said the project grew bigger than he had originally expected, but being organized helped him a lot. He had a Plan B and a Plan C in case the project got bigger than he had expected. He also had some help from fellow Sawyer students Kris Hochsprung and Riley Larson.
Preston said people have asked him if he plans to do it again next year and he would like to do Soles for Souls or another community service project.
Helping others feels good and will also help him reach his goal of being admitted to one of the U.S. service academies.
Preston moved back to North Dakota with his family last summer after his father retired from the U.S. Air Force. The family spent seven years stationed in Japan and Preston loved seeing the sites around Japan. He said he would like to travel abroad again and hopes he gets the chance in the U.S. Air Force.