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Where’s the beef? 9-year-old gave back in unique way to hospital that treated his crushed leg

Tribune News Service logo Tribune News Service 4/14/2018 By Carmen George,

The Fresno Bee

Justin Hurd donating $5,079 he raised to Valley Children's Hospital on March 22, 2018. Dr. Joseph Gerardi was on hand to accept the donation. © Valley Children's Healthcare Foundation/TNS Justin Hurd donating $5,079 he raised to Valley Children's Hospital on March 22, 2018. Dr. Joseph Gerardi was on hand to accept the donation.

After Justin Hurd’s left leg healed following a bad dirt bike accident, the 9-year-old wanted to help other injured and sick kids.

So he talked with his parents and doctors at Valley Children’s Hospital, where his crushed femur was put back together, and devised a unique plan. He’d raffle off the best cuts of meat from a steer he owns to raise money for the nonprofit hospital just north of Fresno.

It was a success. The Los Banos boy sold more than 5,000 raffle tickets at $1 a piece to raise $5,079.

Justin’s doctor, Dr. Joseph Gerardi — who also treated Justin’s dad when he was a boy — was on hand to accept his donation.

Justin Hurd with one of his steers. © Allison Hurd/TNS Justin Hurd with one of his steers.

“I hope it goes to good things, like cancer and maybe other diseases, a broken leg,” Justin says. “I think other kids are important. Actually, most people in my class said, ‘Why are you doing this? Why don’t you keep the money for yourself?’ I’m like, ‘I’m going to put my money for good.”

Justin bought his first two steers just before his eighth birthday after saving up $2,300 he earned doing chores. He’s since bought and raised 11 steers that are butchered and sold for meat. He has his own cattle brand: JT.

Justin’s parents, Kevin and Allison Hurd, aren’t sure what inspired their son’s cattle operation. He first asked about owning cows when he was 2 years old.

His career goals: “I think I would like to be a pilot on the weekend but a cattleman on the weekdays.”

Philanthropy is important to Justin, in moderation.

“I think that some people should give to good stuff,” he says. “I think you should be nice, but you shouldn’t give away all of your money.”

He’s resumed his dirt bike riding since his November 2016 accident. Justin crushed his femur by trying to do a jump on his bike and slamming into a tree.

“My mom still won’t let me chop it down,” Justin says of the tree.

He’s learned some things since breaking a leg.

“Like I probably would jump, but now if someone was like trying to jump 20 feet, I’d say, ‘That ain’t happening.’ … I’ll be fun but I’ll also be safe.”

Allison Hurd is “beyond proud” of her son.

“Just to see the smile on his face when he took the check into Valley Children’s was incredible,” she says. “I hope it inspires other kids for sure. All it takes is one little idea and it can grow. It’s been fun watching his hard work pay off.”

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