It's just about every boys dream to sift through a pile of matchbox cars. But for Sgt. Jordan Shay, his dream was to give the collectibles away to children living in Iraq. "I'm just so impressed that Jordan is over fighting a war for our country and also thinking at the same time of being a wonderful human being and wanting to give something to the kids and the people he meets along the way," said Maureen Forbes, a colleague of Shay's mother, Holly.
In an e-mail written to his mom, a councilor at the Hospice of the North Shore, Jordan said the cars would be a great way for the soldiers to bond and he asked if she could please send him a handful in her next care package. "He wanted to show there in the midst of war...there was kindness and gentleness," said Forbes. But two days after that e-mail was written, Sgt. Jordan Shay was killed in Baqubah, Iraq. He was just 22 years old serving his second tour abroad. The vehicle he was riding in flipped off a bridge. "They had swerved to miss an IED. His vehicle had gone off a bridge," said Dianne Kuzia Hills, a colleauge of Holly Shay's.
Jordan’s mom, Holly, was devastated. Her husband had died years earlier of cancer and now her only child was dead. "All of our hearts are broken for Holly. She's such a good kind person to thave something so terrible happen," said Kuzia Hills. Holly's colleaugues had heard about Jordan's last e-mail and in honor of his memory, decided they could fulfill his dream. "I think so many people wanted to do something because she had done so much for other people. Just a way to show how much we care about her and her family," said Kuzia Hills.
So, they set out to collect matchbox cars by placing collection boxes at local banks and stores. They also spread the word through Facebook, word of mouth and this website they set up called "Little Wheels of Tribute." After two months , Holly's friends and co-workers couldn't believe their eyes as the mountain of new and gently used cars began to grow taller and taller. Patti Commeau Simonson's 10 year old grandson handed over 60 of his.
"He said you can take these if you want and I said are you sure? And he said yes, all those little boys really need some cars to play with and I don't need them anymore," said Comeau Simonson. More than 3,000 cars have been collected so far, painted with the letter J to let the Iraqi kids know this special gift comes from Jordan Shay. "We wanted something so if someone saw it they would say what does that mean, why is it there? Just something to keep his memory alive," said Kuzia Hills.
The cars are now ready to be shipped to Sgt. Shay's striker brigade in Iraq, officially making this young man's wish a reality.