An act of kindness toward a homeless man by two high school students years ago has been paid forward in spades to future students.
It was three years when Ryan Kodat and Luke Arnold, seniors at Dwight Township High School in Dwight, Illinois, saw a homeless man walking through a blizzard with no jacket. They gave the man clothes and also money to buy a train ticket to visit his father, who lived in a Springfield nursing home, reported Morris Herald-News.
The homeless man, Wade Herter, never forgot.
On February 26, Dwight Public Schools Superintendent Richard Jancek learned in a letter from Herter that Dwight Township High School would receive a $10,000 donation from Herter to be used in a way that honored his father, Warren Herter.
Herter’s father had passed away since his visit three years ago and, unbeknownst to Herter before his father’s death, had left behind an estate worth $1.2 million.
Jancek and the school board decided to use some of the donation to annually award two graduating students $500 for acts of humanitarianism over the next 10 years.
“Applicants will be asked to describe a time when they went above and beyond to help a friend, family member or stranger, and expected nothing in return,” Jancek explained to the Herald-News.
School officials had never heard about Kodat and Arnold’s deed until the letter. Jancek recently spoke to Kodat about the idea of Kodat and Arnold helping judge applications for the Warren Herter Pay It Forward Award
“He said, ‘You don’t have to put my name on anything,’” Jancek recalled to the Herald-News. “‘We did it because it was the right thing to do, not to get an award. If the same thing happened tomorrow, we’d do it again.’”
Herter has since moved to Santa Monica, California, where he is writing and doing film work and stand-up comedy.