McLean Boy Sinks More Than 20,000 Baskets For Fallen Navy Seals

11:11 PM, Sep 9, 2011   |    comments
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MCLEAN, Va. (WUSA) -- Swish, swish.  Twelve-year-old Will Thomas shot baskets for more than 50 hours over the Labor Day Weekend.   Woosh.    

With a clicker in his hand, his dad counted every one that went in.  Swish,woosh, bang-swish.  He's quite the sharpshooter, missing only here and there.    

"Shooting baskets is something I love to do. The fact that I can do it and help the families of the Navy Seals is great," said Will.

His goal was 17,000 baskets.  He decided to ask people to pledge a small amount... a penny or two... hoping to bring in at least $1,000 for each family of one of the 17 Navy Seals killed in the August 6th helicopter attack and crash in Afghanistan.

"It was the hardest day for the Seals, the worst loss in Navy Seal history," said Will.

For a name for his project, he and his family came up with "Mission Possible," even though his mother was worried 17,000 baskets may be too much.  

It wasn't. Will hit his goal at about 1:00 p.m. Monday on Labor Day.  But he kept on shooting because several donors had said they'd pay him double for the baskets he makes over 17,000.

He kept on going as night fell and on until 10 p.m. the night before his first day of 7th grade at Longfellow Middle School.

His final tally:  20,317.  If all the pledges turn into donations, "Mission Possible" will raise $34,000 for the families. 

The extra 3,317 baskets and matching dollars were for one of the widows of the fallen seals who lives in Vienna.   She stopped by to thank Will after she got wind of what he was doing. 

Will's father put together a book with photos and stories about those  17 Navy Seals who lost their lives that day so Will would not forget who it was all for.

"The people who died, they're highly skilled from this elite force.  It gets your attention," said Bill Thomas.  

"It's a parent's worst nightmare- To lose a child, a brother, a father. It's unthinkable," said Melanie Buttross, Will's mom.  She's from Louisiana, which is where one of the fallen Seals was from.   And coincidentally, his wife is living in Northern Virginia and stopped by the Thomas house after hearing what Will was doing.

"She talked to me for about twenty minutes and just encouraged me and thanked me. It was pretty special," said Will.  

The Thomases say the donated money will go to the Navy Seal Foundation  for them to distribute to the families.

If you'd like to help, email Will Thomas for information at William.Thomas@skadden.com.

Written by Peggy Fox

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