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Little man - big heart

-  Logan Crouser embodies empathy, compassion well beyond his 10 years

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Logan Crouser's family is shown here at Main City Park, from left, Lizzie, Lilly, Chris and Michelle. Logan is in front.

All Logan Crouser wanted to do was join a game of football at recess.

But a classmate told Logan he wasn’t welcome in the game and emphasized his denial with a few shoves. The incident wasn’t Logan’s first or last encounter with the playground football brute. The problem persisted, with a push or two for good measure, so Logan told his parents and school officials he was being bullied, and the issue was resolved.

Flash forward a few weeks: Logan witnesses another student enduring the taunts of a bully and steps in to defend him.

“It was hard to do,” Logan said, “but I knew what it felt like to be bullied — a lot.”

A fourth grader at the Multisensory Learning Academy in Fairview, Logan epitomizes the typical 10-year-old boy. He collects Matchbox cars, loves animals, has an interest in javelin throwing and hopes to become a firefighter some day.

But Logan also embraces an understanding of empathy and compassion far beyond his tender years. He brings his outgrown clothing to the closet at MLA for kids in need and donates his allowance to causes for cancer research and clean water in Africa. He also participates in an annual program through his church that stocks shoe boxes with toys and hygiene items for distribution to local foster children.

Logan’s altruism isn’t spawned by the “why” in someone’s circumstances or attitude. Instead, reaching out is more a matter of “why not?”

“Some kids care more about the way they look than helping other people,” Logan said. “The outside isn’t as important as what’s on the inside.”

The son of Michelle Crouser and Chris Bobo, Logan was raised in a deeply religious family. The couple taught their son and daughters, Lilly, 7, and Lizzie, 13, that when you give 10 percent, you reap 50 percent in return.

Logan was serving meals in homeless shelters with Crouser by the time he was 4 years old. The activity made an impression on the youngster that something as simple as a sandwich had the power to improve someone’s way of life.

“It’s fun to feed people,” Logan said. “It helps them out.” OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - A homeless woman accepts a lunch from Logan at Main City Park in Gresham.

Prior to moving to Sandy in January, the family lived near Main City Park in Gresham. Disturbed by seeing the homeless gathering in the park, Logan rallied his sisters to help him pack sack lunches for the hungry along the Springwater Trail. On warmer days, the family can be found passing out sack lunches, that now, at Lizzie’s urging, include a baggie of dog food for those they encounter with pets.

No cause is out of bounds for Logan. He has donated so much of his own hard-earned allowance toward a fund dedicated to building wells for water in Africa, that he was presented with a rock from the village where his money did the most good.

Closer to home, Logan is a member of the student council at MLA, assisting with the daily flag raising and announcements. He also participates in a program called Crowd Crushers, where he helps maintain safety while kindergarteners await their after-school transportation.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Logan leads a group of kindergarteners from their classroom to the parking lot at the Multisensory Learning Academy in Fairview, where they are picked up by a parent or guardian. Called Crowd Crushers, the program is a leadership opportunity for members of the student council, like Logan. “That’s probably the best thing I do because the little kids look up to me and I can make a difference,” Logan said.

Crouser describes her son as a “true gentleman,” who holds doors open for women and is “always doing kind things.”

“He goes out of his way on a regular basis to seek out kids in his school who may not have a buddy to play with on recess and he becomes their friend,” she said. “He never loses sight of the needs of others and really has a heart of gold.”

Dad, Chris Bobo, concurs adding, “You always want your child to turn out better than you.”

While the family’s faith plays a large part in how they influence the community and those around them, Logan’s motivation comes simply from a genuinely pure heart.

“It’s fun to help other people out,” Logan explained. “You would want them to help you if you needed it. I just want to be the person who does something to make the world better.”