Eight-year-old Ronald McDonald House Youth Ambassador appearing in Dam Festival Parade


Miles Mann collects pop tabs to benefit charity

By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer

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Miles Mann from Stacy will be riding on a float in the Dam Festival Parade Saturday, June 16. Family members and friends will be handing out pop tab houses for willing people to fill for Ronald McDonald House Charities.

A heart for people who are hurting and inspiration from his godmother, Paulette, energized eight-year-old Miles Mann of Stacy to collect pop tabs.

“She was collecting them and I wanted to help her,” said Mann. “I’ve collected 80 pounds so far.”

Mann has collected pop tabs on his own for more than two years, starting when he was in kindergarten. He hands out little Ronald McDonald folding houses, which hold about half a pound of tabs each.

“Miles made a closed-circuit presentation at his school, encouraging the rest of his schoolmates to save pop tabs too,” said Miles’ mom, Kristy.

Miles has gone to eight other schools to make presentations. He’s also been in about five parades, including Stacy Days, the Rutabaga Festival in Askov and Fourth of July celebration in Hill City.

Miles hands out pop tab houses everywhere he goes.

Miles has been to the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis many times. Although a person has to be 14 years old to enter the main area of the house, Miles can visit the offices.

“My favorite part is the wishing fountain,” he said. “You drop coins in and make a wish. I’ve made many wishes.”

“The people at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) fell in love with Miles. When they were asked for suggestions for speakers at their annual convention, they suggested Miles,” said Kristy.

Miles was invited to be a keynote speaker at the 2011 Ronald McDonald House Charities International Conference in Chicago in August 2011. The whole family went along, which included Miles’ dad and younger brother.

“He did a skit with Ronald,” Kristy said. The skit can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=607rk1djYO0.

“My favorite thing in Chicago was seeing the Navy Pier, with the miniature golf, view over the lake and the fireworks,” Miles said.

Miles is now an official Youth Ambassador for RMHC, with a sash he wears when making appearances.

Earlier this year, Miles was scheduled to make an appearance at a family night event at a McDonald’s in Woodbury. A portion of the sale of each Happy Meal sold during the event would go to the Ronald McDonald House.

“We knew WCCO was going to be there covering the event,” said Kristy, “but we didn’t know they were coming just to do a feature on Miles.”

After seeing the WCCO piece, Debbie Helmerick of Randall wanted to help. Helmerick has set out pop tab houses where she works at the Morrison County Courthouse.

“Miles’ mom asked about local parades,” said Helmerick. “He is registered and will be in the Dam Festival Parade June 16.”

Miles’ grandfather built a Ronald McDonald house to use in parades and Miles and his brother, Riley, will be riding. The Helmericks will be driving the vehicle pulling the float, with family members and friends handing out pop tab houses along the way.

“What he is doing and the way he handles himself is amazing,” said Helmerick.

For more information, contact Kristy Mann at [email protected]