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Caitlyn Jones / DRC

Helping hands

Shady Shores boy who runs toy drive wins state volunteer award

CORINTH -- Micah Pinson was quick to point out to his classmates that March 10 officially was known as the International Day of Awesomeness.

In fact, Friday was an awesome day for the 12-year-old. The Corinth Classical Academy seventh-grader was the lone middle school student in the state to receive the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for his years of service collecting toys for a Dallas hospital.

"I found out [about the win] while I was at school, so I was stunned and didn't really believe what was happening," Micah said. "It kind of took the entire day to realize what was going on, but it's really exciting."

The Shady Shores resident received a heavy silver medallion at a schoolwide assembly to go with his $1,000 cash prize and trip to Washington, D.C., in May. After school officials nominated him for the award, he wrote to the judges about his experience collecting more than 26,000 toys for patients at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

His application was chosen out of 129,000 nationwide.

There's a reason Scottish Rite is the target of Micah's charity, though. He wants to give back to the hospital that gave him so much already.

When Micah was born, his parents noticed immediately something was wrong with his left hand. Angela and Richard Pinson's baby boy was missing three tiny fingers, and the other two were webbed. His condition, known as symbrachydactyly, caused his blood vessels to die and couldn't be detected in ultrasounds.

"It was a total surprise for us," Angela Pinson said. "It was really hard in the beginning. We were scared. I remember sitting in the hospital wondering where he was going to put his ring when he gets married."

Pediatricians at the time weren't able to pinpoint what the problem was, so they referred the family to Scottish Rite. Two free surgeries later, Micah's fingers were unwebbed and he had made new friends at the hospital's summer hand camp.

"My father-in-law told me that if [his condition] was OK with me, it would be OK with him," Richard Pinson said.

Today, Micah sees no limits to his life. He sings in the school choir and cuts up with his friends. An avid sports fan, he plays soccer and football. Like many Texans, he's a fan of Dallas Cowboys players Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot.

Micah decided long ago, though, that he wanted to do more.

In 2011, then-6-year-old Micah and his dad approached Scottish Rite to ask how they could help. Employees told the pair the hospital was low on toys and games for the patients.

"Micah just said, 'Well, I can do that,'" Richard Pinson said. "That's how it all started."

Every November since, the family finishes off the Thanksgiving turkey and hits the pavement. Micah asks business owners and school officials from Denton to DeSoto if they would consider participating.

"Micah has the gift of gab," Richard Pinson said. "In the beginning, we would both go into the business, and I would introduce Micah but do most of the talking myself. He's heard that so much now that I just drive him there. He walks in and does all the talking at this point."

The toy drive requires quite a bit of time from the family. Micah said he was once up until 3 a.m. organizing, but his parents sent him to bed because it was a school night.

The sleepless nights pay off, though. This winter, the family hauled 10,000 gifts to the hospital in an 18-wheeler the week before Christmas.

Amie Giacumakis, the campus director at Corinth Classical Academy, said Micah's generous spirit has impacted other students.

"We're doing a lot of entrepreneurship and philanthropy projects here," she said. "Giving back is huge for us."

Right now, Micah has his sights set on becoming a professional athlete, but he knows this experience will stay with him throughout his life.

"I believe in God, and I believe that he has a plan for me doing this," Micah said. "I hope that I make others want to serve. America is always wanting things, but it's nice to step back and give to others."

CAITLYN JONES can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @CjonesDRC.