12 year old Justin Peterson was holding his usual fundraiser, selling hamburgers, for the Honor Flight Program, which flies vets to Washington, D.C., to see the National World War II Memorial , when a local health inspector approached his stand in a Chewelah park and issued him a $170 for not having the proper food permit.
“She charged us for it and I was kind of sad,” Peterson told local TV station KREM. “I was just trying to raise money for vets.”
Dave Windom, administrator for the health district said the inspector was only following policy.
“You don’t want someone in the field making judgment calls on what they consider a worthy cause and cutting people slack. It opens the door for accusations of favoritism,” he said.
Faced with an embarrassing situation, the health district board members decided to pay the fine themselves.
Peterson has helped send more than three dozen veterans to the nation’s capital by selling hamburgers, holding nacho dinners and selling Honor Band wristbands (available for $5 by emailing JP4vets@yahoo.com). He called the whole thing “kind of cool.”
Peterson was honored last year with the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, one of only two honorees from Washington state, for his fundraising on behalf of Honor Flight. The year before that, the Spokesman-Review dubbed Peterson a “fundraising phenomenon” for his efforts.
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