It began at a Native American Powwow Jan. 25, 2008, when Cameron Williams, then age 9, drew some pictures and sold them to raise money for veterans. She raised $38 that day for the local VFW and since that time, she has raised more than $4,500.
Williams, now 11, is a resident of Amelia and has switched from drawing pictures to creating custom jewelry. In May 2008, she named her project W.O.L.F. (Warriors Open Lines of Freedom).
“Cameron has been honored by many local and state officials, such as county commissioner Bob Proud, Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, Senator Tom Niehaus, and the Clermont County Veterans Service Commission,” said Mayor Leroy Ellington in his letter of recommendation to the recreation commission.
Recreation Commission Chair Derrick Campbell read the letter of recommendation at the Amelia Council meeting on Monday, Dec. 21.
"Over the last few years I have gotten to know Cameron and her family fairly well and I can say that if anyone in this village has demonstrated exactly what this award is about, 'civic pride and instilling a sense of community,' Cameron and the W.O.L.F. Project have accomplished that and more," said Ellington. "It is without hesitation and with great pride that I nominate Cameron Williams and her W.O.L.F. Project as the Amelia Citizen of the Year for 2009."
Council members approved the nomination and Ellington awarded a plaque to Williams. Her name will be engraved on a plaque in the village offices which holds the names of previous award winners. Her stepfather, Keith Yager, pointed out to her where her name will be placed.
"We are very proud of her," he said. "We supply all the materials she needs to make the jewelry."
Williams said that when it all began she knew that her babysitter's brother was serving in the U.S. Army. She just wanted to raise enough money to send some care packages to military men and women serving overseas. When her parents asked if she wanted to continue raising money, she agreed and they decided that custom jewelry was the best way to raise funds.
She makes bracelets with names such as B.E.A.R. (Bring Earth A Remedy) and C.R.O.W. (Creator Respects Our Warriors). She also creates necklaces and earrings. In early 2009, W.O.L.F. began partnerships with several area businesses to sell her jewelry. Yager said that they would be interested in selling at any event, but that since they are a non-profit they don't have the money needed to pay entry fees.
"All the money she makes is sent to the USO," said Yager.
Her jewelry can be viewed and purchased online at www.thewolfproject.com or contact her family at (513) 753-4190. All the proceeds are sent to the USO Care Package Program.