LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Carson Atkins' ninth birthday party was just like the other kids his age: swimming, friends and cake.
But the thing he did differently was request monetary donations in lieu of presents for the children of Hattiesburg Police officer Benjamin Deen, who was killed in the line of duty last month.
"That's what I wanted to be a present," Atkins said.
Carson's mom, April, said he raised nearly $1,000 for the Deen children, which can be used how the family's feels necessary.
"That's the Carson that we have raised," she said. "He's a very giving child... a very special child."
April said her son had always been interested in law enforcement and military, and word made its way to the Lamar County Sheriff's Department that Carson was collecting money at his birthday party.
"They said, 'Oh, well we will make sure something happens for him that's special,'" she said.
Little did the Atkins know just how special that something would be.
Members of LCSO surprised Carson and his friends at the party and gave him their old badges, medals and other things as a way of thanking him for his donation to the Deen family.
Deen's brother, Josh, also surprised Carson with Deen's old baseball card collection. Carson and Deen both have a love for baseball, and after finishing up a round of practice hits with his dad, the all-star baseball player flipped through the hundreds of cards he was given, from as far back as 1959.
"Baseball cards were shocking," Carson said, as he recalled the gift. "I didn't know I was going to get something that old and big."
April described her son's acts of giving as "a gift from child to children."
"A very selfless gift," she said. "And we wish the (Deen and Tate families) all the luck and blessings and prayers."