A picture sparked the interest of a local girl and now she is working to make a difference in the lives of local veterans through her initiative ‘Hailey’s Heroes.’
Hailey Enamorado may look like your typical 16-year-old, but if you take a closer look you’ll see much more.
“As a 6th grader I could have said somebody needs to change the world, but instead I said I’m going to be the one to change the world,” said Enamorado.
Hailey’s story started when she was just 12-years-old.
“I thought Veterans day for a very long time was just another day.”
That mindset quickly changed after a Veterans Day school project. Hailey was assigned to write an essay on what it means to be veteran.
“She came home talking about wanting to write an essay. We found a relative that we knew in our family which was her great, great uncle. I had a picture that I had inherited. Hailey wrote about his going to World War II,” said Hailey’s mother, Crystal Rende.
The picture had been passed down to her mother. At the time no one had ever opened the frame, but something told Hailey to open it.
“I was like Mom let’s open up the back of the picture and upon opening up the back of the picture we found the last letter Ivory Deshotel ever sent home.”
In the back of that old picture were the final letters Ivory Deshotel every wrote.
Deshotel was reported missing in action during World War II and never returned home.
After reading the letter, Hailey was inspired and determined to get the letters to Deshotel’s family.
“It’s why I started reaching out, after finding his letters, and hearing that he never had those letters delivered. It made us reach out to see if he had any surviving relatives,” said Enamorado.
After some digging, Hailey was able to find Deshotel’s last surviving daughter, Geraldine Schexnayder.
After decades Deshotel’s final message was finally delivered to his family.
“She hugged me, she hugged me so tight and said God blessed the world for people like you. And I just broke down, and at that moment I was like this is what I’m supposed to do,” said Enamorado.
And that’s how Hailey Heroes was born.
“You’re wanting your child to always find a cause that is greater than themselves and to give back. And that can be anything but for Hailey that is helping veterans and to help her peers to discover the heroes in their families,” said Rende.
Today Hailey has raised over $4,000 in monetary donations for the Wounded Warrior Project through t-shirt sales and corporate sponsorships. She’s donated numerous care packages to active service men and women. She also made a big donation to help rebuild Denham Springs after the 2016 floods.
Now Hailey has high hopes for her initiative and plans to continue to share the stories of local heroes.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, one thing in all of this, it’s that everybody is somebody’s hero,” said Enamorado.
An accomplishment that her mother said she is very proud of, “to have Hailey teach other peers that hey you can make a difference. You Don’t have to wait to become an adult as a young lady you can make a difference,” said Rende.
After all it was a story that inspired her to become a hero for others.
“More than anything, I want to be somebody that people say I’m going to do that too. I didn’t have anything special. I was just a little girl that wanted to change the world and all you have to have is that dream.”
Hailey is currently writing a children’s book. She hopes this book will help teach young children the importance and the meaning behind being a veteran. She hopes to have her book published soon.
She is also working on setting up a scholarship foundation. She wants to encourage other students to learn about the heroes in their families and share those stories with others.
To learn more about Hailey and her initiative, or to make a donation to her cause click here.
Special thanks to the Highland Group Marketing for providing video.
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