For all of his eight years, Fischer Cook of Knightsville has saved his money.
His allowance for chores, such as making his bed and organizing his room, went right into his savings account. Cash his parents, Michelle and Tony Cook, gave him for good grades also went into that account, as did birthday money.
By early December, Fischer had $300 in the bank.
Then he heard about a nearby family -- a single mother, her three sons, her brother and their mother -- who lost everything in a mobile home fire.
"Well, I've seen a lot of fires in my life, and I decided to help this family out," the shy third-grader said.
So he emptied out his bank account to provide them with Christmas presents and necessities.
Michelle Cook said she did not know the family, but her husband called on the way to work Dec. 13 to say he had seen a house on fire.
"I learned more about it when I picked up my son (at Knightsville Elementary School) that afternoon," she said. "One of the teachers in the car-rider line told me that there were students at the school that had had a fire and if I had any resources, they needed everything. Fischer heard her, and as soon as we pulled off, he said, 'Mom, that's so sad.' It really bothered him."
Fischer said he immediately thought of his bank account.
"I was just saving it so in my later years, I could buy something I really wanted," he said. "I wasn't really saving for anything in particular, so I just gave it all away."
When he told his mom he wanted to offer his money to the family, it didn't surprise her.
"It was a big deal for him to want to give that up, but I was pleased when he said that he wanted to help," she said. "The situation was heartbreaking. It's hard enough to be a single mom, but then to have something like that happen."
Cook discussed Fischer's idea with her husband and other family members, and Fischer's action began to snowball.
The Cooks matched their son's donation. Fischer's sister, Grace, 6, emptied her piggybank. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and young cousins also contributed.
Soon, the Cooks had $1,000 to give.
Fischer said he took the money and purchased 50 toys and some necessities, and with his mom's help, tracked down the family, who also received assistance from the Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the American Red Cross and local churches.
"It was really great to see the kids get involved and make an effort," Michelle Cook said. "It just really fulfilled Tony and I as parents. We thought it was the greatest Christmas gift we ever received, to see our kids help someone in need."
As for Fischer, he's got plans: "I'm going to start saving up my money again by doing chores and earning my allowance," he said.
He also has become somewhat of a celebrity as word of his good deed got out. Old Fort Fire & Rescue, which responded to the fire that day, plans to honor Fischer at his school in the coming days.
"This is an 8-year-old who has done something most 8-year-olds would not do, no matter what," said Old Fort Assistant Fire Chief David Moore, who was on duty the day of the fire. "His mom thought doing something at his school would be a great idea because it might inspire other kids to think about doing something like this."
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or on Facebook.