Veterans start memorial scholarship fund in honor of Daleville 2-year-old

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DALEVILLE, Ind. - Veterans at American Legion Post 446 are honoring a Daleville boy who passed away last year after he crawled into a hot car.

Ron Patterson, a former Army paratrooper, is a service officer at American Legion Post 446. In September of 2018, Patterson was at the Daleville post for a weekly drawing.

Patterson said a woman frantically came inside the post looking for Stults. Someone found him after he crawled into a hot car at the apartment complex across the street. Patterson said he attempted CPR, but the little boy passed away.

"I told some friends I would rather go back into combat for a month than to deal with the 20 or 30 minutes I dealt with that small child," he said.

Jaxon's father, John Stults, wanted to meet Patterson in person. When they met, the American Legion told John they wanted to create a memorial scholarship fund in Jaxon's honor.

"I was really touched. Something that can carry on Jaxon's name in a positive light," said John.

The scholarship is not just about academics. Applicants are asked to write an essay about patriotism and how volunteering can benefit them later in life. So far, the American Legion has given away two $1,000 scholarships.

"We hope it spurs people to think and do something kind for the community," Patterson said.

If you would like to help, please contact the American Legion post in Daleville.

As for the case, the toddler's mother, Britni Wihebrink, was charged for neglect of a dependent resulting in death. A jury trial is set for January 27.

According to court documents, Wihebrink said she started drinking to help her hangover from the night before, and she did not remember a lot of the events that occurred that day. Police found seven empty Jim Beam 50 mL bottles in the house.

Wihebrink said she laid down to take a nap with her 2-year-old around 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. That was the last time she saw Stults.

Her friend’s 15-year-old son found Jaxon lying on the back floorboard of the car. Her friend picked the child up and brought him inside. Wihebrink called 911, and she told dispatch someone was performing CPR on her son, but he was starting to turn blue.

Medics rushed to the scene, and he was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital.

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