Despite raising her steer to be a prize-winner at the Warren County Fair, Lora Vonderhaar sold the cow to help the family of a sheriff killed while on duty. / The Enquirer/Tony Jones
Teenager Lora Vonderhaar has a charitable streak that is 6 feet long, weighs 1,200 pounds and sports hoofs.
Her Angus steer named “Rocky” was raised by the 15-year-old Kings High School as part of her local 4-H Club. But it’s what Lora did with the $4,000 earned from the steer’s sale that truly gives measure to her generosity.
She decided to donate the $4,000 to the family of Warren County Sheriff Sgt. Brian Dulle, who was killed by a fleeing suspect in May.
The high school sophomore was touched by the Dulle family’s plight and especially wanted to help the officer’s wife and three children, one of whom is battling cancer.
In May, Lora had joined her father and mother – all with American flags in their hands – at the roadside in front of their Union Township farm to honor Dulle as his funeral procession passed by.
It made an impression on her and months later when a family dinnertime conversation brought up the idea of charitable giving, Lora’s gift quickly took form.
“She jumped right on it,” recalls her father Fred Vonderhaar.
Lora recalled watching the funeral motorcade passing by.
“It was really sad and I really wanted to do something to support the family,” says the teen.
The $4,000, which she donated directly to the Warren County sheriff’s fund for Dulle’s family last month, would have otherwise gone into her family college savings. But she insisted on giving it all away.
Her father’s eyes well with emotion as he talks of it.
“What else could a dad ever want from a daughter?” says Vonderhaar.
Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims was also moved by Lora’s philanthropy when he met her during the donation ceremony.
“Just talking to her about this brought me to tears,” says Sims. “I saw a remarkable young lady that is not only thinking about others but actually taking steps to help them. While many teenagers would be thinking of ways to spend this on themselves or even putting it away for college, she decided to help a family that has suffered a great loss.”
Doug Mader, principal of Kings High School, says no one who knows Lora – a top academic performer and member of the school’s marching band – would be the least bit surprised.
“Lora is an outstanding young lady. She has a genuine heart and shows passion in everything she does in and out of school,” says Mader. “She carries herself as a person with a giving heart.”
And a modest one at that.
Reluctant to discuss her act, Lora stresses that she understands her family’s livestock business – she is now raising another steer for eventual sale – allows her opportunities to make charitable donations her peers can’t.
“I just thought it would be a good way to help out,” she says.
A memorial fund has been set up in the name of Sgt. Brian Dulle at any Fifth Third Bank.
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