It’s Salute to Service Week for the Ravens. When we talk about honoring our military members, few practice what they preach more than 7-year-old Tyler Stallings.
When Tyler was 4, his mother, Andrea Blackstone, showed him a YouTube video about homeless veterans. Tyler wanted to build them houses. They couldn’t do that, she said, so they found other ways to help.
Since March of 2016, Tyler has been making and delivering care packages to homeless veterans in the Baltimore area. He’s a regular at The Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training (MCVET), a non-profit where he’s built many lasting relationships.
“I saw them standing on the street and said, ‘Well that’s not fair. They served our country,’” Tyler said.
Tyler comes from a long line of military veterans. His Uncle Mike, who lives with him in their Halethorpe home, is an Army vet. Both of his grandparents were veterans. So are more uncles and cousins.
Tyler and his mother pack the “Hero Packs” with water, clothes, snacks, toiletries and other basics to help the homeless veterans. Tyler then tosses on his red cape to make the delivery.
“My cape means I’m on a super hero mission!” he said.
Tyler is already CEO of Kid Time Enterprises, LLC (he has business cards), and author of the book “Tyler Goes Around the World,” which he sells to make money for his charitable causes.
In March, Tyler captured the nation’s attention with an appearance on “Little Big Shots” with Steve Harvey. He was 6 years old then. You’ve seriously got to watch this:
The TV appearance raised Tyler's profile, and he has since received support in waves. Recently, The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) has stepped up, in addition to partners like Backpacks For Life in New Jersey, and Leesa, which made a commitment to deliver 250 mattresses and money to MCVET.
His other project has been Tyler’s 1,000 Book Giveaway, in which he’s held events to collect books for children who can’t get to a library.
But “I’m working on the veterans right now. That’s my agenda right now,” he said. Tyler also recently helped a veteran who is not homeless but is very sick. He bought him a blender.
The Ravens hosted Tyler and his family during their game against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 21. It was Tyler’s first Ravens game, and he got a chance to watch his favorite players, Joe Flacco and Terrell Suggs.
“Ever since we moved to Baltimore, I was always glued to the TV when it’s Ravens time,” Tyler said. “My Uncle Mike watches it every Sunday. It’s God’s day, but he’ll still watch the game.”
Tyler said he had a good time at the game, but “I tell you one thing; I was surprised that they lost by one point.”
Yeah, us too, Tyler.
Here’s something that will make us all feel better though. Donate to Tyler’s cause here at his GoFundMe page, or directly on his website. He’s also starting his own non-profit, Give Back to Veterans (Inc.), so be on the lookout for that, too.