A former homeless man’s $10,000 gift will inspire and reward random acts of kindness for years to come, thanks to two Illinois teens.
The generosity and compassion shown to Wade Herter by a pair of high school boys was never forgotten. Herter was a homeless drifter, freezing and alone in a blizzard three years ago when the two seniors helped him.
Ryan Kodat and Luke Arnold found him some warm clothes and a jacket and purchased a train ticket that would let him see his father. They never expected anything in return, but Herter has always wanted to do something special to thank them.
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When his father passed away, Herter was stunned to learn that he’d left behind a $1.2 million estate. It helped Herter get back on his feet and move to California where he writes while doing film work and stand-up comedy.
Herter kept thinking about the students who helped him get home during the blizzard, and decided to thank them by giving a gift to their school in Dwight, Illinois.
He sent a letter to the school telling his story, along with $10,000 for the district to spend any way they wanted – only asking that the school use the money to honor his father.
It was the first time anyone at the school had heard about what Kodat and Arnold had done for a homeless man, and after reading Herter’s story, school administrators knew exactly what to do with the money.
They created the “Warren Herter Pay It Forward Award.”
Every year, for the next decade, it will award students in the small town $500 for performing a random act of kindness. And the school has asked Kodat and Arnold to judge the nominations.