KIND HEART: Jed Wagner, 5, heard about the man who lost his belonging in a fire at Benaraby and has decided he wants to help.
KIND HEART: Jed Wagner, 5, heard about the man who lost his belonging in a fire at Benaraby and has decided he wants to help.

Boy on a mission to find a stranger who lost everything

IT IS often said children don't see the same value in things that adults do. But a special little Gladstone boy, Jed Wagner, has shown that's not always the case.

Five-year-old Jed displayed empathy beyond his years when he heard a 71-year-old man, a stranger, lost all of his belongings in a fire that ripped through his car, trailer and tent on August 18.

The man was just a week from moving into a permanent residence at Boyne Island and had set up camp at Benaraby as a temporary home.

"He decided that he was going to get this man a brand new tent, trailer and car," mum Gloria said.

"When I told him that wasn't possible and perhaps we could settle for some items for his house he was very excited."

Jed and his family, Benaraby residents, were on their way to a favourite fishing spot when they came across the man's burned belongings.

Encouraged by an enthusiastic Jed, the family tracked down the original Gladstone Observer story about the elderly man's plight.

All of his possessions went up in smoke when fire razed his car and quickly spread to his trailer and tent.

The man, who did not want to be named, used all of the water he had - drinking, dish-washing and showering water - to douse the blaze, to no avail.

Eventually, fire crews extinguished it.

Gloria said while the whereabouts of the man was unknown Jed's mind was set on helping him so she hoped the message would reach him.

She said she was organising a fundraising drive so people could donate items, which would be taken to the man.

"Jed watched the video on The Observer's website a number of times," she said.

71-year-old man lost everything: 71-year-old man lost everything
71-year-old man lost everything: 71-year-old man lost everything

"He was very sad for the man."

The Wagners are no strangers to fundraising.

"Every birthday party that both our children have had (Jed and Milani), instead of gifts at their parities from family and friends I would ask for donations," Gloria said.

"We would then pick a charity to donate it all to.

"Over the years Jed and Milani have donated something like $2000 to charity.

"Even unwanted toys, clothes and other things. All get donated."