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Man trades up on a penny, donates $5K, gets a High 5

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SALT LAKE CITY — How much is a penny worth? To Ryan Davis, it's worth a whole lot more than what you might think.

"I found a way that I could just trade something and give back in a meaningful way," he said.

In 2010 Ryan began a bartering project, the Ryan's Pennies Foundation. He started with a single penny and traded it for small things like a Lego figurine, gift cards, DVDs, then a lap top and a guitar, a boat, a Ford Escort and after 14 trades, a Dodge Ram truck.

The truck was traded to Toyota Bountiful, which then wrote a check for $5,000 to Primary Children's Medical Center.

Ryan and his wife Stephanie, parents of five beautiful daughters, were impacted by Primary Children's. Their oldest daughter, Makenna, had an epileptic seizure at age 1 and was put into a medically induced coma.

"We saw the support and awesome things that Primary Children's did, so it was easy for us to choose them for the first penny we traded," Ryan said.

Man trades up on a penny, donates $5K, gets a High 5

Today Mackenna is a healthy 11-year-old girl. Ryan says he still spends time on the project because he feels like he's been blessed.

"A good job, a good family. I've been provided for and this was just my way of giving back," he explained.

Stephanie added, "It shows his character and how much he cares about other people and not just himself."

Ryan's mother, Nadene Davis, said, "As a mom it was my responsibility to make sure he was a good boy. But he took it upon himself to become a great man."

"It's pretty cool to see the look on people's faces," Ryan said, "and excitement when they see how I was able to turn something so minimal into something so big."

As part of the High 5, our partners at Les Schwab presented Ryan with a gift basket and a certificate for tires.

If you would like to nominate someone for a High 5, do so here.


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Jennifer Hardman


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