Luke Smith


October, 2016
Manitowoc

From an early age Luke had an extreme love for animals and at the age of 6, he started volunteering for the Lakeshore Humane Society.  Luke found a need and a purpose; the animals accepted Luke for who he was. He has dedicated so much time to the Humane Society, giving back selflessly to support a good cause.

When Luke was 10 he learned about the Miracle League of the Lakeshore- a rubberized baseball field for kids with disabilities.  Everyone bats, everyone plays, everyone wins and each individual is placed with a buddy. Luke was inspired by others on the committee who were going out in the community spreading awareness of the field so Luke decided to do it too. He helped spread awareness of the field, advocated for acceptance of children with special needs and against bullying.  Within three years the committee as a whole raised $450,000 for various projects, including building a new field.  Also, this past June an all accessible playground was built so kids with a variety of special needs can play together. The Miracle League has just completed its third season. Luke has dedicated so much of his time to help recruit players, coaches, and buddies.

Luke has also become actively involved with Generations Against Bullying as peer ambassador.  He served as a peer ambassador, spreading the word against bullying and encouraging others to stand up to it.  Luke is passionate about creating a safe place for all a place where there is no fear of being bullied or judged. His goal is to help create world of full inclusion -where everyone is accepted for who they are.

Luke uses his adversities to help others and build resilience for what he experiences in life.  He jumps in wherever the help is needed, in all ways.  He helps the Manitowoc firefighters with the Boot Drive to fundraise for Muscular Dystrophy; he helps serving food at a local gun range to raise money for military veterans; he helps fill Christmas bags that are distributed to veterans and their families; coordinated book drives; volunteers for the Salvation Army, and so much more!  Luke volunteers because he says it feels good, it strengthens and changes communities, helps to make lifelong friendships, and keeps organizations and communities going strong.  

Luke hopes that he can inspire others to pay it forward, even if it’s one small act of kindness, like standing up  for someone else or just being nice. A smile goes along way. As Luke’s business card says – “Being humble means recognizing that we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others.” Gordan Hinkley. 

For all of these reasons, Luke is awarded the Wisconsin Heroes Award.