NEWTON TWP. — Saturday, Aug. 20 was a warm and sunny day, so it made sense for 10-year-old Norah Rickaby to set up a lemonade stand in her grandparents’ front yard on Newton-Ransom Boulevard.
But Rickaby didn’t pocket the cents she made from that stand.
She donated money from the lemonade sales to St. Francis Commons, a Scranton facility that provides a transitional home, food pantry and clothes closet for homeless veterans.
Rickaby wanted to follow in the footsteps of her late grandfather Jack Rickaby, who served during the Vietnam War.
“I feel like I did something special because it relates to my family,” said Norah, of Falls Township.
After training in Minot, N.D., Jack Rickaby was stationed in Cheyenne, Wyo., where he was a technician at Cheyenne Mountain Missile Site. During his retirement, he was a post commander of the American Legion Post 665 in Dickson City. He spoke several times in Harrisburg on POW/MIA Remembrance Day in support of veterans’ receiving more governmental benefits.
“The POW/MIA and homeless veterans were very important to him,” said Brian Rickaby, Jack’s son and Norah’s father. “I think that more people should take the time to think about what the soldiers sacrifice so we can do what we do.”
Jack also spoke at area schools in order to teach the importance of honoring veterans. Before he passed away, he impressed the importance of honoring veterans and their sacrifices to his grandchildren, including Norah.
“I have a soft spot for them (veterans),” said Norah. “We don’t do enough for veterans.”
In May, Norah and her family watched the Memorial Day Parade in Clarks Summit, and later that night, she asked her mother Karen Davis Rickaby about why veterans aren’t honored other than on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
“She (Norah) asked if we could have a lemonade stand to raise money for (veterans),” said Karen. “I agreed that we would have one in the summer once softball season was over. She didn’t forget it and continued to talk about it since May.”
In addition to lemonade, Norah also sold items donated by the community such as Gertrude Hawk chocolate bars, homemade bookmarks, beaded crafts and bracelets made by her friends and her cousin Haddie Davis. Karen and Brian made crayon art, in which they glued crayons on a canvas and melted them using a heat gun to make the colors run down the canvas.
“I think it’s wonderful that a 10-year-old girl is so civic-minded to raise money and help homeless veterans,” said Ellen Kotchick, whose 9-year-old daughter Reagan purchased a piece of crayon art and a bracelet.
Norah was able to raise $700 from the sales.
“I’m proud of what she’s trying to accomplish,” said Brian. “I think her grandfather would be very proud of her.”
Norah and her parents are thankful to the community for their support.
“I’m really touched by the people who came to the lemonade stand,” said Karen. “I’m proud that she (Norah) picked this cause and followed through to make it a success.”
The Rickabys are still accepting donations until the end of August. Norah was inspired by this experience and said she will hold more events to help veterans in the future.
“It was a big thing for me because I had friends come over to my house and make a community effort,” said Norah, who will soon attend fifth grade at Tunkhannock Area Middle School.
Norah is the granddaughter of Bruce and Pat Davis.