‘He’s an inspiration’ Duplin boy receives PETA’s ‘Hero to Animals’ Award

Kaden Simpson received the reward after raising over $8,000 for nearly 20 animals injured and homeless after a house fire in Beulaville.
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 7:21 PM EDT
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KENANSVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A Duplin boy is being recognized as a hero.

11-year-old Kaden Simpson received the ‘Hero to Animals’ Award from PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

“He’s an inspiration to kids and adults alike,” the award reads.

Kaden received the award after raising over $8,000 for animals injured and homeless after a house fire in Beulaville last month.

“They need help, right away,” Kaden told WITN News last month. “Because first of all, they’re cute. Second of all, they’re adorable.”

The GoFundMe Page doesn’t even show the half of it. Every year, Kaden donates all of his birthday money to the shelter. He estimates he’s donated nearly $20,000 altogether.

“He’s always had a love for animals, but it was like the A.S.P.C.A. commercial that he had seen that just brought him to tears,” said Jessica Daughtry, Kaden’s mom. He was like, ‘How can we help them.’ Ever since then, it’s just been ‘I can’t wait for my birthday so we can do this again. Let’s see if we can beat last year’s goal. Let’s see if we can get more food and supplies.’"

The fire, caused by a gas leak, left 12 dogs and cats without a home. Six walked away with critical burns, six with serious ones.

Original information from Duplin County Animal Services said five animals died in that explosion caused by a gas leak, but new information from the shelter clarifies only one was put down because of her injuries.

The fire also left 79-year-old Lon Record dead.

All other animals have recovered and nine are still up for adoption at the Duplin County Animal Shelter, where Joe Newburn is the director.

“It takes a community to run the animal shelter,” said Newburn. “We couldn’t thank him enough for it. He’s helped us out a bunch with this.”

The shelter isn’t done getting Kaden’s helping hand just yet. Kaden has a birthday coming up in February, and he said he’s preparing to set up another fundraiser.

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