Meet the 11-Year-Old Who Raised Enough Money to Buy a Gravestone for the Father He Never Knew
Lifestyle| | By Margo Gothelf
For 11-year-old Brandon Bakke, it was never too late to honor his biological dad, even if they had never met.
Bakke’s adoptive mother, Brady, had information about her son’s biological mother, but had to do some work to find out information about his father.
Brady Bakke then found Bakke’s biological sister, Tiffany, who shared that Bakke’s father Terrence had passed away from an asthma attack when he was 56 years old.
Bakke’s mother then asked Tiffany is she would go visit their father’s grave with her son. She happily agreed, but warned Bakke’s mother that there wasn’t much to visit since the family couldn’t afford a monument. Once young Brandon Bakke found out that his dad didn’t have a gravestone, he wanted to do something to change that.
“When I found out my dad’s grave didn’t have a stone, I got really sad and thought if I did something for him, he’d be proud,” Bakke shared with Today.
Bakke went to work mowing lawns and quickly earned $175. When he brought his hard earned money to his mother, she told him that it would not be enough and Bakke went back to work.
“My husband and I were very proud of him and were going to support him in any way we could to help make it happen,” Brady Bakke shared.
After some more hard work, Bakke was able to earn $400. He then called a gravestone company and explained his story. The company was so touched by his hard work and dedication that they decided to give the gravestone to him for free. They even let Bakke design it himself.
“I asked Tiffany about my dad since I didn’t know him and she said he was always helping people and loved to cook,” Bakke said. “After she said that, I knew exactly what I wanted to put on there.”
The stone “featured a heart and two hands holding a bowl of soup to signify his dad feeding the homeless,” wrote Today.
Late in October, Bakke and several biological family members gathered at his father’s grave to honor his life.
“It was a very emotional day for Brandon,” Brady Bakke said. “As much as he loved meeting his biological family, who are all kind, wonderful and supportive, it saddened him to know he’ll never meet his dad.”
The ceremony also let Bakke bond with a new family. He was also so inspired by his own hard work, he started his own lawn mowing and snow removal business called “Mowing and Blowing for a Purpose.”
Bakke plans to donate the money he earns to a memorial-stone fund for families who cannot afford their own gravestones. Bakke wants to “make sure nobody goes unknown in life.”
“I always wanted to meet my dad and wish I could’ve before he died,” Bakke said. “I know he would’ve loved to meet me and would be proud to call me his son.”