By Leland Kim
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (KHNL) -- One Schofield woman finds a unique way to honor the Cyrus Belt, the two-year-old boy who was thrown from the Miller Street H-1 overpass a week ago Thursday.
Since Cyrus died almost two weeks ago, thousands of people have made their way to the memorial, including Stacey Norris. She is turning a tragic event into an opportunity to touch lives half way around the world.
Norris works as a health technician at Schofield Barracks. Like many people, she was shocked when she heard about how Cyrus Belt was thrown from a freeway overpass.
"My heart just dropped to the floor," said Norris, 27-year-old civilian employee at Schofield. "I couldn't believe what had just happened to this poor little boy, an innocent child."
She went over to the memorial to say goodbye to Cyrus, and add to the growing mound of stuffed animals.
"And I just went to pay my respects," she said. "And the grandfather was there, and from the pictures, I just wanted to give him my condolences to his family."
They talked about how they could best honor Cyrus' memory.
So that conversation turned into a mission to help others. Stacey brought the toys back -- some 400 stuffed animals -- back with her to Schofield.
Norris, a retired Iraq war veteran, said images of poor Iraqi children coming up to her are fresh in her mind.
"As we passed through all the towns, it was very devastating when you're driving along and see kids come out of nowhere," she said. "Just popped up from the sand and started running to the trucks and waiting on the side of the road, just going like this and you pretty much know that they're hungry."
Her tour of duty in Iraq made her appreciate what we have in the United States.
"It just really moved me that we're going to this country," Norris said. "To us, an MRE (Meals Ready to Eat, a sealed bag of portable food) is nothing but to them, it's the world, and it may be the only food they may have for who knows how long."
Norris said charities may not be able to resell used stuffed animals, but kids in Iraq and Afghanistan would appreciate them.
"Those children there still have that young, innocent thing where one little thing to them means the world," she said.
Norris, who grew up in foster care, said she's doing this for Cyrus and others who never had a chance at life.
"We'll always remember him," she said. "He will always be in my heart."
In Norris' heart and in the hearts of the children in the Middle East.