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Every Friday morning, this 12-year-old metro Detroiter plays national anthem for first responders

Posted at 10:34 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 22:34:21-05

(WXYZ) — Every Friday morning, like clockwork, 12-year-old Oliver Strickfaden has a place to be. And that place is the Farmington Hills city complex.

Starting at 7:15 a.m., he makes the rounds with the help of his uncle, playing the national anthem on his saxophone in front of the fire department, city hall and the Farmington Hills Police Department.

"I wanted to give back to the community, especially in the times we're in right now. And it just felt like a good thing to do," said Oliver.

It’s a gesture Oliver started last October, and rain, shine or snow – he shows.

"I've been out there when it's snowing and it was below 10 degrees out and it was really cold," he said.

He said he does it without any need for recognition – but soon after he started, people took notice.

"That kind of dedication is just admirable," said Farmington Hills Police Sergeant Christopher Steuer.

Floored by his commitment, word spread. The Oakland County Sheriff's Office even offered him the chance to go up for an air patrol.

"It was awesome," said Oliver.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said he wanted to celebrate Oliver. "We're in a challenged time, but you know, for all the flaws that our country, or us as people — we individually have, we're still the greatest country in the world. And, you know, to have a young man that understands and appreciates that is super important."

Oliver is a young man of many talents. He’s in the Civic Youth Ensemble for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, is an accomplished LEGO builder, and I’m told, throws a mean fast ball.

But shining above those many talents is his kindness and dedication.

"I'm hoping to do it as long as I'm in this area, so it could be to the end of high school or somewhere around that time," said Oliver.

And his newfound fans will continue to look forward to every Friday morning.

"As long as he continues, we'll continue to wait on him every Friday morning — always happy to see him rolling up," said Sgt. Steuer.

Oliver said his dream is to become either an architect or a professional musician — all while continuing to do his favorite things.

Oliver’s family says he plans to begin doing national anthem dedications on Friday, with the first honoring a family who lost two brothers within six weeks of each other at the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.

Requests for the weekly dedications can be sent to oliverplaysforvets@gmail.com.