Many people think kids should get their first job at age 16.
Will Brewster had other plans.
When the Wheatland man started a lawnmower giveaway program three years ago, he wanted to help get young kids into the real world, working their first job and keeping them out of trouble, he said.
Giving a kid a lawnmower and some fuel allows them to start their own business, become more responsible, and learn money management, he explained.
Brewster started the program by having people submit names through Facebook, but that became really overwhelming and crazy, so he decided to have the kids write letters to him instead.
Brewster said he could tell which kids really wanted the mower versus which ones really didn’t by the amount of effort put into the letters. Handwritten letters from kids explaining what it would mean to them if they received the mower, and what they would do with the money they got from mowing, showed Brewster which kids really needed this opportunity.
Brewster previously gave away five other lawnmowers before Hal Sprague of Maquoketa got involved.
Brewster, who is a customer at Hal’s Small Engine Services, had been getting parts for used mowers at cost after telling Sprague what he was doing with them.
Sprague decided he should get involved in the program because it was a great cause, he said.
Brewster and Sprague initially decided to have a lawnmower giveaway for just Maquoketa kids, but had only two applicants. Unable to choose between the two kids, they decided to give lawnmowers, weed trimmers, and fuel cans to both kids.
Andre Bunyon and Jadon Westfall were the two winners of the Maquoketa giveaway. They each received a Toro lawnmower and string trimmer, along with a fuel can and $20 to fill it.
Brewster and Sprague said they can’t wait for the winners to go out and “make us proud.”