At 6, Maxwell Lawson of Munster was the youngest missionary visiting Zapaca Guatemala with the organization hearts in motion. He never forgot the impoverished children he saw there. This video was provided by hearts in motion.
"I was really sad and at the same time, I had to do something about it," said Maxwell Lawson, National Hero semi-finalist.
Now 10, he has worked to raise money for school supplies and vitamins, to purchase cribs and to build a school and collect shoes for residents of Zapaca. It earned him the honor of being a national semi finalist for the Hometown Youth Hero Award, sponsored by Volvo.
"It just feels so great doing it. Knowing that people have recognized you for what you have done and knowing that every body else has done something great and that you're part of it," said Maxwell Lawson, Youth Hero candidate.
Karen Scheering-Parra is the executive director the Highland-based Hearts in Motion.
"When I started this organization 26 years ago I thought I was going to change Guatemala...little did I know that it was to change so drastically the people who volunteer and he make a difference," said Karen Scheerin-Parra, executive director.
One example—the 10-year-old grew his hair for a humanitarian cause.
"Actually when we were down in Guatemala there were babies and women that had no hair at all....so I decided to give it all away," said Lawson.
"He inspires other people, adults and children alike. And he tries to teach them about that he know and what he's experienced. So for him to be recognized nationally and in comparison to all the great things that are out here is just great," said Melissa Lawson.
This week the youngster learned he would not be a finalist.
"Everybody there did something great. But some people did other things greater...and those people were chosen," said Maxwell Lawson.