(Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette)
By the time the Southwest Junior High eighth grader graduates from high school in 2017, he's hoping to have enough pop tabs -- 1 million of them -- to reach 16.75 miles.
Stephen, the 13-year-old son of Deanna and Doug Harrison, collected his first 65,000 pop tabs during the past year. He has five more years to collect 935,000 more. He'll donate the entire 1 million pop tabs to Ronald McDonald House Charities, hoping to relieve the temporary lodging worries of families whose children are hospitalized in Omaha.
Ronald McDonald charities recycles the pop tabs to help defray operational costs. According to Ronald McDonald Charities, "We keep families together during the most difficult time of their lives. Families from throughout the world come to Omaha seeking medical care for their sick children. Some come seeking hope, others seek a miracle. And while they're here, they call the Ronald McDonald House® their home."
Ronald McDonald statistics indicate that 1,500 pop tabs weigh one pound. But Stephen's count is much more accurate because he and his grandmother, LaDonna Harrison, are counting the tabs -- each and every one of them.
Stephen's first ice cream bucket contains 14,096 tabs. He's on his fifth bucket. "I'm going to need a lot more buckets," he said, grinning.
Stephen has a lot of friends and family collecting pop tabs for him -- in Lebanon and Wilsonville, Kearney, McCook, Oberlin, Cambridge, Benkelman and Trenton.
Anyone wanting to help Stephen reach his goal can contact him at (308) 375-4360 (leave a message if necessary) and he and his grandma will make arrangement to collect the pop tabs.