Project to honor America’s fallen heroes inspired by Toledo boy - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Project to honor America’s fallen heroes inspired by Toledo boy Eckert

Myles Eckert removes the soil from his father's resting site Myles Eckert removes the soil from his father's resting site
WHITEHOUSE, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Nine years ago Thursday, Sergeant Andy Eckert was killed in Iraq.

"It seems just like yesterday. But sometimes it seems like it was really a long time" says Eckert's widow Tiffany.

On this solemn anniversary, friends and family gathered at Eckert's grave site in Whitehouse to remember him and be part of a special event.

"Charismatic. Outgoing. Comedic. A natural leader. Good guy," said to Jeremy Lanaham, who served in Iraq with Andy.

The gathering was a first for the Patriot Soil Project. The organization will collect soil from final resting places of fallen heroes like Eckert in all 50 states so a Patriot Tree can be planted in that soil at the White House.

"I'm really excited about being part of something that brings recognition that a lot of families would not have otherwise," said Tiffany.

Founders of the Patriot Soil Project were inspired by a TV news story they saw about Eckert's son Myles. The nine-year-old youngster famously paid it forward at a local restaurant by gifting a serviceman $20 he found in a parking lot. It also included a note about Myles' dad and what happened to him.

"It became very inspiring. We thought it would be a wonderful family to reach out to and ultimately meet," said Patriot Soil Founder Gary Robinson.

They did meet at the Whitehouse Ohio Cemetery to help plant a tree at the White House someday as a living memorial to soldiers like Eckert.

Myles' stories can be found:

Toledo boy turns 20 dollars into priceless gift

Myles Eckert awarded for kind act to soldier

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