A Toledo boy’s act of kindness back in February continues to inspire people across America including a new group of people who formed the Patriot Soil Project.
The group plans to collect soil from the burial grounds of service members killed in action. Members of the group will gather soil from all 50 states, and a Patriot Tree will be planted in that soil on the White House property.
The group became motivated to complete its mission after hearing about Myles Eckert who found $20 and gave it to an anonymous soldier with a note. The note said:
"Dear Soldier -- my dad was a soldier. He's in heaven now. I found this 20 dollars in the parking lot when we got here. We like to pay it forward in my family. It's your lucky day! Thank you for your service. Myles Eckert, a gold star kid."
One of the founders of the Patriot Soil Project, Gary Robinson, recently told Fox Toledo News, "It became very inspiring. We thought it would be a wonderful family to reach out to and ultimately meet."
Nine years ago yesterday, Sergeant Andy Eckert was killed in action, so on the anniversary of his death, the founders of Patriot Soil Project met in Whitehouse, Ohio at Eckert’s grave with his family. Myles received the honor of removing soil from his father’s grave for the ambitious project. The gathering was a first for the Patriot Soil Project.
Since Feb. 7, 2014, when Myles gave away the money he found, he has discovered how one act of kindness can change your world and the world around you. After giving the $20 bill to Lt. Col. Frank Dailey, Dailey, who is a 27 year veteran of the Air Force, donated that $20 bill to a local charity with a copy of the original note. “I look at it (the original note) every day.” Lt. Col. Dailey told Steve Hartman of CBS News.
The story has continued to grow. Myles has been in numerous news articles and on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.” DeGeneres brought Myles, his mom and sister, and Lt. Col. Dailey on her program, and she presented a check from Shutterfly for $20,000 to Snowball Express, which is an organization that supports children who have lost a parent due to military service.
Since then, the giving has continued to grow. Many people have given Myles money, but the Eckerts refuse to take any money. Instead, his mother, Tiffany, has given all the money to Snowball Express. The original $20 has grown to over $250,000. "It's exponential," Tiffany says. "It's extraordinary. It's amazing."
Patriot Soil Project is one more way Myles has seen the world change around him. All it took was one simple act of kindness.