Brendan Haas, a remarkable young boy, has blessed the life of a fallen soldier by raffling away a free Disney World vacation to the family of Timothy Steele, 25, who lost his life in Afghanistan last year.
The nine-year-old used Facebook to undertake a project titled “A Soldier for a Soldier,” and raffled away the prize, a week-long stay at Disney World for the family of a fallen soldier.
On his Facebook page, Brendan, 9, writes:
“I am always trading toys with my friends and thought I would like to do my own project for a good cause. I am going to call it ‘A Soldier for a Soldier.’ I am going to start with one of my toy soldiers and hopefully continue to trade until I get a trip to Disney for a family of a fallen soldier. Once I reach my goal, I will hold a free raffle open to any immediate families of a fallen soldier and will randomly pick one lucky family.”
Brendan reached his goal, amassing almost $900 for the Disney World vacation, including plane tickets and a time share. On Memorial Day with cameras from WHDH-7, the nine-year-old picked the winner of the raffle, the family of U.S. Army Lt. Timothy Steele, 25, who was killed last August in Afghanistan.
The fallen soldier’s family lived just minutes from Brendan Haas, so he decided to surprise them with the gift in person. Melissa Haas, Brendan’s mother, told WHDH-7 that:
“It’s interesting and touching that it’s somebody close to home. We had people from Wisconsin, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, all over the United States.”
The young boy’s project, turning one small toy soldier into a trip for a family to Disney World, touched the lives of many, including Jack Steele, Timothy’s father, who stated of his late son that:
“Tim was pretty special to us. He knew what he wanted to do at a very young age.”
On the project’s Facebook page, Brendan has received an outpouring of support from people who have been touched by his story. Bob Wade wrote:
“If everyone was like Brendan there would be no wars. Brendan, being 9 years old you may not fully realize how incredibly thoughtful your gift is but someday you will. I hope you continue to do great things in your life. The world needs people like you.”
Another Facebook user, Ann Marie Smith Braga, wrote:
“You’re one amazing young man. Our family lives on Hanscom AFB in Bedford, Mass. We are an active duty Army family. I want to thank you from all the Army families here at Hanscom.”
Brendan Haas’s response to the outpouring of support for reaching his goal was to say on Facebook:
“Thank you for all your support! I can’t believe all the nice comments, emails, and phone calls. I am going to try to reply individually to everyone but I am still in school and Mrs. Smith still gave me homework tonight I think that I learned that it takes a whole army not just one soldier, everyone who helped spread the word, supported me, and traded, and entered my raffle helped me reach my goal. There are two words I want to say to you all-THANK YOU.”
Check out the video here of Brendan picking the winner, and presenting them with the free vacation.