Corey Ellis (11) and his family live in a log home that they helped their Grandfather Ellis build on the outskirts of Phillips, Maine. It is a peaceful, wooded area where moose and bear wander through their yard occasionally.
It’s a mile and a half to the nearest neighbor Corey’s age, so he spends a lot of time with his family. Some of Corey’s favorite things to do with his family are camping, sitting around a campfire, and going for walks to a nearby pond.
Corey helps around the house by keeping his room clean and by working in the yard. In his garden a tree frog and two toads, Hoppy, Sr., and Hoppy, Jr., stand guard over the cucumbers, string beans, beet greens, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, radishes, and sunflowers. Corey also helps take care of the family garden, which is on a parcel of land in another part of town.
The Ellises own a large wooded tract of land where they grow trees. During the summer and sometimes in the winter, Corey and his brother, Kyle (12), help stack logs and collect the trimmings from trees their father, Michael, cuts down. They then use the wood to heat their home during the winter.
Every morning Corey cares for the rabbits his family raises for food. He makes certain that they are fed and have plenty of water. Once in a while he and his brother become attached to a particular rabbit and talk their parents into letting them keep it.
Michael Ellis does most of the work with the family’s beehive, but Corey and Kyle sometimes help, although they keep their distance from the thirty thousand bees. When the honey is collected, the boys help their mother, Patsy, prepare it for storing. They also help can the vegetables and fruits that the family raises, and they enjoy going to the local blueberry fields to rake berries from the bushes for freezing and for making homemade blueberry pies.
Corey takes piano lessons and played “Book of Mormon Stories” for his ward’s Primary sacrament meeting presentation. Corey collects things, too: stamps, stickers, the leaves of striped maples, and pretty rocks from lakes. He likes to find butterfly chrysalides and watch them until the monarch butterflies emerge from their cocoons and fly free.
Kyle, Corey, and their father are each working toward earning the Church’s gold award in the physical fitness program. Corey is earning points by running, walking, cycling, and swimming. During the school year he often gets up at 5:30 A.M. to go jogging with his father, while Kyle sprints by them on his bicycle.
In the winter Corey takes cross-country skiing at school. He and Kyle—and sometimes their mother—enjoy going sledding through the snowy woods behind their home. Corey’s best sport is soccer. He plays on his school’s team.
Although Corey has won many awards in ward events and in Phillips’s annual Old Home Days celebration races, one particular race exemplifies Corey’s attitude. He had entered a tricycle race when he was quite young. It took him half an hour to finish the race, and he came in last. However, the judges still gave Corey a trophy. When Corey’s mother asked them why, one of the judges said, “Because he had the courage and stamina to keep going.”