The Delaware community recently came together to raise money for a local teen after he saved a group of ducks earlier this year.
Jacob Stewart, 18, who lives on the west side of Delaware, started taking care of a group of ducklings after their mother was killed.
“I was just taking care of the ducks because I love them, they are my babies,” Stewart said.
Stewart’s actions earned him the nickname “Duck Dad” from the neighborhood, though he said he prefers to think of himself as “Duck Mom.” Stewart also made a name for himself for singing to and playing music for the ducks to help them fall asleep.
“When they were babies I played for them, and it calmed them down a lot,” Stewart said. “They’d fall asleep immediately. I played for them all the time throughout my raising them.”
Stewart said the ducks are now three to four months old, and they still visit him regularly.
“If it’s hot, they’ll sit under the shade and listen (to me play music),” Stewart said.
Stewart’s actions caught the attention of Mary Bragg, one of the residents in the neighborhood, who then shared the story online.
“He’s one special guy,” Bragg said, adding she was inspired by Stewart’s kindness and compassion for the duckings.
The story made its way to Delaware resident Emily Bucksar, who set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Stewart, who hopes to study at the Recording Connection Audio Institute in Columbus. On Sept. 17, Bucksar and Bragg presented Stewart a check for $1,740, which was the amount raised through donations from the community.
“It was a very moving story,” Bucksar told Stewart during the check presentation. “I wanted you to know that lots of people love you. I’m glad you took care of those ducks. We shared your story and a lot of people know about (it) … and we were able to raise some money for you. This is our small token for you. The story was just great.”
Stewart said he was caught off guard by the gesture.
“I’m very surprised and very shocked,” he said. “I definitely did not think anything close to this would happen.”
Bragg said she’s pleased the community rallied around Stewart.
“He’s so deserving of everything we can give him, and we hope we can do more for him,” Bragg said. “I never expected it to take off like it did.”
Stewart’s mother, Jessica Stewart, said she was really overwhelmed and surprised when she learned about the fundraising.
“We didn’t really have any idea that so many people had taken an interest in him,” Jessica Stewart said. “It really warmed my heart that he’s shared his music with other people. (The ducks) helped him to embrace his own purpose.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.