DENHAM SPRINGS -- A local restaurant is joining one 6-year-old’s quest to protect those who protect others.
Big Mike’s Sports Bar & Grill will hold an all-day fundraiser for “Officer Levi’s Quests for Vests” on Wednesday, Aug. 21.
Mike O’Neal, owner of the popular eatery in Denham Springs, said his restaurant will donate 10 percent of all its proceeds from that day to Levi Russell, the young boy who recently started raising money to purchase Angel Armor bulletproof vests for local law enforcement.
In addition to the 10-percent donation, O’Neal said people can also purchase $5 raffle tickets for a chance to win a plethora of prizes and gift cards that were donated to young Levi’s cause. The raffle tickets can be purchased at Big Mike’s, located at 123 Aspen Square, through the day of the fundraiser.
For O’Neal, his involvement has a personal meaning.
His father, Michael W. O’Neal, Sr., was a state trooper for more than 20 years. When Levi’s grandparents asked if they could place a jar in his restaurant for donations, O’Neal said he was so moved by Levi’s story that he wanted to do “something more.”
To show their appreciation, Levi and his grandparents told O’Neal that they plan to use some of the proceeds to donate a vest to Louisiana State Police in his father’s name.
“They almost brought me to tears,” O’Neal said. “It’s become a personal thing, and it’s definitely something that’s needed. I’m just so excited to be involved in this.”
In late 2018, Levi began to raise money for Angel Armor bulletproof vests, which are lighter and are said to have improved technology. He raised the money through household chores that included anything from picking up his toys to helping his grandmother fold clothes.
By last April, he had raised nearly $3,000 that went toward purchasing vests for Detective Ken McMorris and Deputy Katie Robbins of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.
He has also donated money to the Christmas Crusade coordinated by Sheriff Jason Ard and his deputies to provide toys to children from underprivileged families.
Recently, Levi’s mission caught national attention when he was mentioned on Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier.”
Levi, the son of Megan Russell and Matthew Musser of Watson and the grandson of Rose Russell and Brett Overton, is a student at South Live Oak Elementary. He has stated numerous times in the past that he wants to be a police officer.
For more information on Levi’s mission, visit the “Officer Levi’s Adventures” Facebook page.