LACONIA — The Monday before Christmas, 9-year-old Jet Wang, a fourth grader at Holy Trinity School, was named honorary director for the day at the New Hampshire Humane Society.
The honor was bestowed on the youngster after he delivered $1,100 he had collected at his parents' Shang Hai Restaurant on South Main Street in his own personal fundraiser for the society.
''It was a wonderful gift and it sets a great example for other children,'' said Marylee Gorham-Waterman, director of development at the society.
She said that Wang's family also added to the gift he brought, having gone on a shopping spree earlier that morning at BJ's Wholesale Club in Tilton , where they spent $100 on cat and dog food, animal toys, paper towels, a dog bed and even bleach for disinfecting the animal cages at the shelter.
Wang came up with the idea for the fundraiser last summer after he and his Aunt Annie visited the Humane Society.
''They had been at the restaurant and he was bored. So I suggested that he and his aunt go up there to see the animals,'' said his mother Hong Yan, who along with her husband runs the restaurant.
When Jet returned he told his mother that he would like to adopt a dog.
But Yan said that as much as she would like for him to have a pet, that it just wouldn't be fair to the dog as both she and her husband work 12 hours a day at the restaurant and there wouldn't be time to properly take care of a pet.
Wang was still determined to do something for the animals at the shelter and came up with the idea of raising money for the Humane Society by putting a "swear jar" on the bar. Every time one of his mother's patrons curses, he or she has to put some money in the jar for the Humane Society.
The goal was to raise $200 for the Humane Society and one of Yan's regular customers said he would match up to $200 if Jet and his "swear jar" could raise that much money.
Yan said she too would match Jet's $200.
But in early September some young people stole all of the paper money the jar, which was clearly marked as a fundraiser for the Humane Society.
''I was kind of mad, but mostly really sad about the money being taken,'' says Jet.
But after a story about the theft ran in The Daily Sun on September 14, things turned around for the fundraiser.
The Bank of New Hampshire contributed $200 to the cause even set up a collection box to help out. And the restaurant's customers gave generously, with several even chipping in $100.
''People sent us checks and cash in the mail. A lot of it anonymously,'' said Yan.
''One girl at school even gave me her lunch money to help the animals,'' said Wang, who says that he learned that while there may be bad people in the world who will steal there are many more people who have good hearts and are willing to help.
''I feel good that I was able to do this for the animals at the shelter and that so many people helped me,'' said Wang.
Yan said her family has been in Laconia for 25 years and the community has been so good to them that they wanted to do something for Laconia and the Humane Society. With the $1,100 delivered Monday the earlier Bank of N.H. donation pushed the total raised to $1,300.
''We are so grateful to all the people who helped out, especially Harry, Nick, Donna, Annie and Rich. We can't say thank you enough,'' says Yan.
9-year-old Jet Wang is presented with a certificate naming him honorary director for the day at the New Hampshire Humane Society by Marylee Gorham-Waterman, director of development at the society. New Hampshire Humane Society. (Roger Amsden/for the Laconia Daily Sun)