A nine-year-old boy’s simple mistake in applying to win a hunting trip he believed was in his home state of Pennsylvania wound up getting him a trip to South Carolina.
Philadelphia boy Alex Collins apparently heard about a contest to win a chance to go hunting and fishing with a sheriff from the Chester County Sheriff’s Office, but when he sent his mother to the office of Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh with a completed application, he learned that the contest wasn’t in Chester County, Pennsylvania – it was in Chester County, South Carolina.
“He was very upset when he realized it was the wrong Chester County,” Alex’s mother Leslie said.
As fate would have it, Sheriff Welsh was actually friends with the sheriff of Chester County, South Carolina, and after making some phone calls, the two were able to work together to surprise Collins with the trip he had been hoping for.
On Monday morning, Collins arrived in South Carolina to stay with Chester County Sheriff Alex Underwood, his wife, and their 15-year-old son. Part of the reason the two sheriffs, who are reportedly called “twin sheriffs” due to the Chester County connection, decided to go out of their way for the young boy to make the trip possible was due to a letter that his mother wrote as part of the original application.
“We don't have much money, and I have a chronic heart condition,” Leslie Collins wrote in the letter. “I try to do as much 'boy' stuff as I can with him, but I have limitations.”
Underwood says Alex’s own personal letter in the original application also touched him and made him want to give the nine-year-old the opportunity.
“I really want to go hunting with you," Alex wrote. "I don't have anyone to teach me."
This week, the two were able to go hunting and fishing together. The trip appears to have been successful, and Underwood, known as “Big A”, says Collins, now known as “Little A”, has become somewhat of a celebrity in the local area.
“People read the story and it just took off,” Underwood said prior to the trip. “Everybody wanted to make sure Little A was taken care of, and I want the whole country to know that we are going to show Little A the best hunting and fishing trip anybody ever had.”
Collins is set to fly back home to Pennsylvania on Wednesday.