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Boy trades toy for trip to Disney World for family of fallen soldier

By Reid Lamberty, NBC News | Posted - May 30, 2012 at 11:43 a.m.



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KINGSTON, Mass. — It all started with a 9- year-old boy. He wanted to trade his toy soldier for a trip to Disney World for a family of a fallen soldier.

On Memorial Day, he did just that for a Duxbury, Massachusetts family.

"We heard about the guy how he traded a red paper clip up until he got a house and we wanted to do something," said Brendan Haas.

It's called "A Soldier for a Soldier." Back in February, 9-year-old Brendan wanted to trade for a trip to Disney World. He started with a toy soldier.

From there, the trades got bigger and better with the network growing nationwide, until Brendan met his goal: tickets to Disney World including air fare, a stay at the Disney Villas, and almost $900 in Disney gift certificates.

"I think it would make them a lot happier," Brendan said.


I think it would make them a lot happier.

–Brendan Haas


A family of a fallen soldier was chosen randomly from a hat over Memorial Day weekend.

"People just posted that they had lost some family members in the war and we put them in the raffle," Brendan said.

Brendan announced that Timothy Steele's family from Duxbury had won the raffle.

"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," said Melissa Haas, Brendan's mother.

The Haas family lives in Kingston, not far from Duxbury. Brendan arrived at the Lieutenant Timothy Steele's family's Duxbury home on Monday to deliver the good news.

"It's Memorial Day, so we're fragile," said Mary Ellen Steele, Timothy's mother.

Timothy Steele was killed last August in Afghanistan. He was 25 years old.

"Tim was pretty special to us," said Jack Steele, Timothy's father. "He knew what he wanted to do at a very young age."

The soldier left behind a wife and a 2-year-old daughter named Liberty Hope. Now, two families are connected by a single toy soldier.

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Reid Lamberty
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