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“Helping people who keep us safe,” Teen trying to raise $1 million for veterans

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WEST MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa.-- Matthew Ott started raising money to support veterans when he was 9-years-old.

"My mom passed away when I was 11-months-old and when I was 9, I wanted to do something in her memory so I started a lemonade stand," the West York High School sophomore said.

His dad, John Ott said he raised about $54 and gave it all to veterans. Fast forward to Matthew at age 16, and he now is in charge of a nonprofit organization, The Patricia Suella Ott Foundation. All the money raised goes to the Lebanon County VA. The Otts said it goes to cover the costs of everyday activities the VA might not cover.

John Ott said Matthew has raised about $22k. He said $12k of that has come since January. That is when Matthew started the Veterans Challenge.

"And I'm keeping my mom number one, but I've also seen other veterans who are in need and who need support and they just can't afford it," Matthew said.

The challenge is to have 100k people give $10 to make a grand total of $1 million before Memorial Day.

"Helping people who keep us safe is important because without them, we wouldn't be here," Matthew said.

He has hopes of making his nonprofit go to the national level. Right now many of the donations are from local businesses or people. He said he hopes the Zac Brown Band can team up with him to do a charity concert for the organization.

"A 16-year-old that wants to do the right thing and support the people who made this country great and memorialize his mother, it doesn't get any better than that," John said.

If you would like to donate visit the Facebook page or mail it to 2222 West Market Street York, PA 17404.