MADERA COUNTY — Connor Lusk is a 13-year-old member of Coarsegold 4-H who put his money where his heart is – donating nearly $1,500 to the Madera County Sheriff’s Citizens on Patrol (COPs) where his dad has served for the past 18 months.
Lloyd Green is not Connor’s biological dad, but “loves Connor with every breath and would do anything for him,” says mom Anita Johnson.
“Connor and Lloyd are best friends,” she says, “and this was Connor’s way of doing something special for his dad.”
Connor raised a Hampshire hog for 4-H and showed it at the Madera District Fair in September. The hog was to be sold at auction at the fair, but Connor had a special plan — he wanted to donate the proceeds to the COPs program that means so much to Lloyd.
“Lloyd gives up a lot of his time to volunteer for 4-H and spent time helping Connor raise his hogs,” says Anita, who notes that the project is basically a losing proposition, money-wise. “They build the pen and have to buy all the food, so when the hogs sell for about $3 a pound, it’s basically something the parents pay for. It’s all about the experience.”
But this story has a different ending.
Before the auction, Connor wrote a letter to the auctioneer Tim Sisil explaining his plan to donate the money to the COPs.
As Connor’s turn at the auction came around, he and Lloyd were over on the sidelines, with dad coaching son to fix his tie and stand up straight. But Connor was distracted by something else — he was wondering why Sheriff Jay Varney was there.
“What if no one buys my hog?” he nervously asked his mom. “I promised Sheriff Varney I was going to give him money!”
Before the bidding started, Assemblyman Frank Bigelow – who was serving as a volunteer auction spotter – told the crowd, “This young man has something very special going on. You’re not going to believe this, but he wants to give his money away!”
He then read Connor’s letter aloud, and you could hear a pin drop, says Anita.
The bidding usually ends up at about $3 a pound, she says, but Bigelow opened the auction at $5 a pound, and the crowd went wild.
“Connor was standing there trying not to smile, and people just kept bidding,” says Anita. “It was just a big blessing.”
Connor’s 244 lb. hog sold for an astonishing $11 a pound to Madera Pumps, Inc. After paying back the $900 invested to buy the hog and feed it, Connor also gave away half of his bump bids, making for a grand total of $1,469.81.
“This auction was a big surprise for his dad,” says Anita. “Connor wanted to do it because his dad volunteers for the Sheriff’s Office, and Connor knows that his dad gives up a lot of volunteer time to help with 4-H, and also helping Connor raise his hogs.”
On Nov. 11, Connor was invited to the monthly COP training meeting at the Madera County Sheriff’s Office and was able to present his big donation check to the astonished group.
CSO Joann Evans is the COPs coordinator, and is impressed and inspired by Connor.
“This is an awesome gesture from the son of one of our volunteers,” says Evans. “Connor will also be joining our Explorer Program, so he can further help others as a role model for his community. He is an outstanding student.”
As for Connor, he both learned and demonstrated the importance of giving and supporting the things that matter.
“The day I learned that the COP program was funded entirely by donations, I knew that I wanted to use my pig profits to donate to them,” says Connor. “I saw how much it meant to my dad to be a part of such a great program, and I’m glad I was able to help them.”
(Photos courtesy of Anita Johnson)