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Donations To North Texas-Based Organization Pour In Following Ohio Boy’s Viral Story

Madeline Schmitt | CBSDFW.com |
(courtesy: CBS News)

(courtesy: CBS News)

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Donations to a North Texas-based organization are flying in, and a Dallas-based company has pledged to match every single dollar.

It’s because of a viral story by CBS News reporter Steve Hartman about an Ohio boy who paid a found fortune forward to an airmen at a Cracker Barrel.

If you haven’t seen the emotional story yet, we suggest you watch:

Myles Eckert’s pay-it-forward gift of $20 to Lt. Col. Frank Daily of the Air National Guard has snowballed, if you will, into something even bigger.

Myles and his family appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show after the viral CBS News story, and DeGeneres gave $20,000 to a North Texas-based organization called Snowball Express.

Founded in 2006, Snowball Express helps and supports children who have lost parents in the military, like Myles, whose father died in Iraq.

Another person who saw the CBS News segment with Myles was CEO Jim Dondero of Dallas-based Highland Capital Management. Dondero said that Myles’ story and donation to Snowball Express motivated him to do something to encourage others to to pay it forward, too.

As a result, Dondero has pledged that, through Memorial Day, Highland Capital Management will match any donation made to Snowball Express up to $1 million. The first matched donation was the Eckert family’s $20,000.

At this time, more than $230,000 has been donated to Snowball Express. One recent contributor is actor Gary Sinise, who donated $75,000.

“We are extremely appreciative of Highland’s generosity and feel so fortunate to have found such a tremendous partner right in our own backyard,” said Francis Kern, Executive Director of Snowball Express.

Dondero’s actions, he said, are rooted in a belief that everyone has a responsibility to help the children of fallen military heroes.

“Not one of us can do it alone… but together, we have the ability to do great things by creating a supportive environment for all of these children and honoring the memories of their parents,” Dondero said.

Since it was founded, Snowball Express has supported more than 2,500 children at the organization’s four-day event that “provides a fun, nurturing environment that makes each child feel special and gives them an opportunity to share their feelings about losing something so precious: their parent,” according to press release.

If you’d like to donate to Snowball Express, visit this website, or text “Snowball” to 41444.

email: mschmitt@cbs.com

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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