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Boy, 9, gives away Disney World trip to family of fallen soldier

A 9-year-old boy has donated his all-expenses paid trip to Disney World to the family of a fallen soldier. WHDH-TV's Reid Lamberty reports.

Brendan Haas earned a prize any young kid would appreciate — an all-expenses paid trip to Disney World. Instead of going, though, the Massachusetts boy gave the vacation to the family of a soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Haas earned the trip through a trading contest on Facebook he set up to help out a military family. He got the idea from the story of a man who traded up from a red paper clip to a house.

In February, Brendan and his mother Melissa set up the "Soldier for a Soldier" Facebook page in an attempt to trade up from a toy soldier to a Disney trip.

Through a series of trades on the social network site, he managed to amass Disney gift certificates worth almost $900 as well as airfare and a stay at a Disney resort hotel.

On Memorial Day, the boy pulled the name of 2-year-old Liberty Hope Steele out of a hat. She is the daughter of U.S. Army Lt. Timothy Steele, 25, who was killed last August in Afghanistan.

“I think it would make them a lot happier,” Brendan Haas said.

It turned out that Timothy Steele’s parents live in nearby Duxbury, Mass., so Brendan went over to the family’s home and surprised the soldier’s parents with the news of the trip.

The story was first reported by NBC station WHDH-TV.

“Tim was pretty special to us,” Jack Steele, Timothy’s father told WDHT-TV. “He knew what he wanted to do at a very young age.”

Haas' ingenuity, sacrifice and thoughtfulness led to an outpouring of admiration on Facebook.

“Your one amazing young man,” wrote Ann Marie Smith Braga, “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.” 

“Your parents must be so proud of you,” wrote Cheryl Simoes-Buente. “I hope you always will be such a caring and amazing person. God bless you for your thoughtfulness!!!”

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