, Derry, New Hampshire


March 9, 2012

Derry teen shovels for greater good

DERRY — Michael Horak's shovel finally saw some action last week.

After weeks and weeks of standing idle in the family's garage on Mount Pleasant Street, that snow pusher finally had some work to do.

Michael, 13, hoped to help as many people as possible this winter with snow shoveling duties.

Anyone unable to shovel and living within a mile of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, where Michael and his family attend, could have him come to their home, shovel in hand, to do the work.

For weeks, the eighth-grader waited for snow.

It finally hit last Wednesday.

For Michael, helping others is something he has learned from any early age. Parents John and Dawn taught him the importance of giving.

"A lot of people can get stuck in their house," Michael said. "They can get stuck in the snow."

Pitching in with a shovel is something simple he could do.

As part of his shoveling business, Michael won't take payment, but if anyone insists on giving him money, he will gladly offer a list of his favorite charities they can donate to.

Many charities are near and dear to his heart.

A 4-year-old cousin suffers from cystic fibrosis. The American Red Cross and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute also make the list.

The giving spirit has trickled down to Michael's little sister Victoria, 7, who recently cut her hair to donate to Locks of Love after learning a friend had cancer.

"We are blessed," Dawn Horak said of her children's wish to help others. "(And Michael) wanted to do as much as he could on his own."

Michael hopes there will continue to be more snow before the winter ends. If all else fails, he is already planning his spring operation to help those in need with lawn care and mowing.

Anyone wanting some help can contact Michael at 425-8888 or email him at

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