"Crumbs of Comfort" just recorded its 5,000th page view, with readers in the US, Germany, Australia, Poland, France and Costa Rica. Today's crumb is from Ohio, USA.
Myles Eckert, 9, is a reluctant celebrity. His path to fame began last February at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Maumee, OH. He was super excited as he walked in the door, because he'd just found a $20 bill in the parking lot and planned to buy a video game. But then a guy in a military uniform entered the restaurant. The soldier reminded Myles of his Dad, who he never met. Army Sgt. Andy Eckert died in Iraq five weeks after Myles was born. So Myles found a piece of lined paper and carefully printed a note. Dear Soldier, My Dad was a soldier. He's in heaven now. I found this $20 in the parking lot when we got here. We like to pay it forward in my family, so this is your lucky day. Thank you for your service. Myles, a Gold Star kid. Then he wrapped the money inside the note, walked over and handed it to the soldier, who happened to be Lt. Col. Frank Dailey of the Air National Guard. After lunch, Myles asked his Mom to stop at the cemetery so he could walk alone to his Dad's grave and tell him about it.
Daily says Myles' note gave him more than $20. It gave him a lifetime direction. "I look at it every day," he said. But it did even more. When people heard about Myles' gift, many wanted to give him back his $20. Instead of accepting money, the Eckerts directed these donations to Snowball Express, a charity helping kids who lost a parent in war. So far, Myles' $20 bill has multiplied into more than a quarter million dollars. But that's not the end of the story.
Myles has an older sister, Marlee Freedom Eckert. She's eleven, and her middle name is Freedom because she was born during her Dad's first overseas deployment. Her parents wanted her to always remember that he fought for her freedom, and the freedom of folks he'd never met.
Enter Scott Fish, lead singer for the group Distant Cousinz. Scott wrote a song about Myles' note, and later, when he learned Marlee's name, it inspired him to write a musical tribute to her Dad's service. How did he find the right words? "'Marlee's Freedom' was a whisper in my ear," he said. "I wrote it while sitting on a forklift at work, and I even called my voicemail and sang the chorus to myself so I would not lose it."
"Marlee's Freedom" is part of a charity CD supporting the Red Cross, and Scott decided to share the copyright with the Eckert family. Myles' Mom, Tiffany, and Scott plan to do some "altruistic things" with proceeds, which will be donated to Tiffany's new non-profit organization. Speaking of Scott, Tiffany says, "We forged a really good relationship in the last few months. He's just a really good guy and very talented. I'm blessed to know him." Not surprisingly, her new non-profit is called Lucky Day.