NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) — When U.S. Army veteran Chris Stout and his service dog Tom visited St. Edward School in Nashville March 6, the students and faculty felt like they were meeting real-life superheroes. And when two students presented Stout, founder of the Veterans Community Project — an organization that works to eliminate homelessness among veterans — with a check for more than $1,000 from their bake sale profits, they couldn’t help but also give him a hug. St. Edward’s middle school students were introduced to Stout last year through watching “CNN 10,” a 10-minute digital news show, and seeing him introduced as a finalist for the program’s 2018 Heroes contest. The students immediately connected with Stout and his Kansas City, Missouri-based group, which builds houses for homeless veterans and links them with vital services. Kemi Tela, the school’s student council president, wrote to Stout and offered the school’s support for his work. She and her classmates led school-wide initiatives, including the bake sale, to raise awareness and donations. They also led a voting campaign in hopes that the Veterans Community Project would win the $100,000 grand prize from “CNN 10.” Although his organization didn’t win the vote, it gained a large following by being featured on the program. “Schools are really important to us,” Stout told the Tennessee Register, newspaper of the Nashville Diocese. “If the kids are passionate about something, the parents are too.”