Fort Worth

Gold Star Kid Recognized Alongside Medal of Honor Recipients in Fort Worth

There are many ways to serve your country.

"I was just doing my job," said Col. Roger Donlin. "I was serving with the U.S. Army Special Forces."

Donlin was the first person in Vietnam to earn the Medal of Honor.

One of the more recent recipients of that award came decades delayed.

"Forty-four years later," said Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris.

President Obama honored Morris in 2013 for his service in 1969. "I was a Green Beret, in Vietnam, of course."

On Friday in front of a crowd of students at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, these two Medal of Honor recipients were serving as guests.

They were being honored along with the youngest person in the room, who also has served the military, but in a different way: at a Cracker Barrel.

"And I saw a $20 bill, so I picked it up, and I thought I wanted a video game. But then I thought I was going to give it to the waitress, but then I saw the soldier, so I gave it to him," said 12-year-old Myles Eckert about his random-act-of-kindness several years ago.

That soldier reminded Myles of his dad, whom he's only seen in spirit.

"He was kind of faded out, but he had wings like an angel. It was the coolest thing," Myles said.

Myles' dad, Army Sgt. Andy Eckert, was killed in Iraq when Myles was about one month old.

"And so that's why Miles was so compelled to give to Lt. Col. Frank Daily, is because when he saw him he saw his dad," said Myles' mom, Tiffany Eckert.

Myles' act of kindness to Daily went viral and inspired more people to give.

"When you gave him that $20, would you have ever thought that that $20 would turn into $2 million?" asked NBC 5's Kristin Dickerson.

"No," Myles said.

"What's that like?" Dickerson asked.

"Cool," he said.

That money is now helping other military families through non-profits, including Snowball Express, Folds of Honor Foundation, and Camp Hometown Heroes.

"We're doing something that's healing for us. We're doing something that's healing for others. But number one, we're loving Andy in a way that we wouldn't be able to otherwise, and we're loving him loudly and other people are watching us do it. And it's challenged them to love people in their lives as well," Tiffany Eckert said.

From the ultimate sacrifice, to earning the highest honor, and those who support and appreciate them, no matter how you choose to serve, we say, "thank you."

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