Matt Dighton donates books about dog and tornado as Grammy and Oscar goodie bag gifts.

Author Matt Dighton is still paying it forward even 12 years after the tornado hit his hometown of Greensburg. He wants to spread the word of hope to others all over the world. That’s why when officials from the Grammys and the Oscars called asking him for Duck Salt for their gift bags this year, Dighton knew there was a bigger purpose than seasoning salt for this opportunity.
When Dighton wrote his first book, ‘Molly and the Tornado’ back in 2014 about the EF4 tornado that destroyed 90 percent of Greensburg in May 2007, he didn’t realize he would be writing another book ‘Molly and the Stars of Hope’ so quickly after that. But in 2015 that is exactly what he did.
A group of volunteers who had been through their own tragedy came to Kiowa County and brought Stars of Hope to the little town of Greensburg in December of 2007. How could he not tell that story as well?  But never at any time did Dighton think that any of his books would end up in the gift bags of the Grammy or the Oscars.
Dighton who had come to Greensburg to help his family before the tornado in 2007 found himself stepping up and sticking around to rebuild the community his family loved so much as a volunteer coordinator after the tornado took out most of Greensburg.  Dighton helped oversee more than 14,000 volunteers at that time.
“I took the job because I knew I could take Molly, my Dalmatian, to work with me since she had been so traumatized, as so many were from the storm,” Dighton said. “I knew I couldn’t leave her alone in my FEMA trailer for the long hours I would be working.”
Dighton said it was December of the same year that a family from Texas who had survived their own tornado and some survivors from 911 who were working with the New York Says Thank You Foundation came to Greensburg and talked with the students at the Kiowa County School. They told the students that if they survived, the students would as well, the foundation also brought with them 240 stars, those stars were given to each child for them to decorate and place where their home used to be, to help represent Christmas lights and be reminded of the hope that was still possible in such a disastrous time.
“Those 240 stars have now turned into over 104,000 stars as of today by people simply paying it forward,” Dighton said. “It would just of been selfish for me to just put Duck Salt in the bags, I think it was more important to share the gift of hope.”
Duck Salt, a season/spice is another product Dighton produces and can be found in many local area stores. But that wasn’t the message Dighton felt he wanted to send out to others.
“It was almost as if I was soul driven to send to books,” Dighton said. “I just think the message in the book, ‘Molly and The Stars of Hope,’ is more important than the seasoning on some old pork chop.”
It was the connection with the New York Says Thank You Foundation that connected Dighton to the Grammys and Oscars who said he was also sending in a t-shirt that says “Love is Stronger Than Hate.”
Dighton sent over 160 books with a hand-written message to various producers and actors who attended the events.
“I have gotten several anonymous Thank you’s since then,” Dighton said.  “But the ones that really make me choke up are when a grandma writes a letter that says ‘Thank you my grandchild is now not afraid of storms.’”
As recently as last year, the San Bernardino Human Society asked Dighton to attend four school programs sharing about the story of triumph over tragedy after the shootings in San Bernardino.
“This isn’t a money maker by any means, but it is an opportunity to share with others that they are not alone in their tragedies, and they will overcome whatever challenge they are going through and then they can pay the encouragement they have received forward to someone who might need it one day,” he said.

When Dighton wrote his first book, ‘Molly and the Tornado’ back in 2014 about the EF4 tornado that destroyed 90 percent of Greensburg in May 2007, he didn’t realize he would be writing another book ‘Molly and the Stars of Hope’ so quickly after that. But in 2015 that is exactly what he did.
A group of volunteers who had been through their own tragedy came to Kiowa County and brought Stars of Hope to the little town of Greensburg in December of 2007. How could he not tell that story as well?  But never at any time did Dighton think that any of his books would end up in the gift bags of the Grammy or the Oscars.
“It was almost as if I was soul driven to send to books,” Dighton said. “I just think the message in the book, ‘Molly and The Stars of Hope,’ is more important than the seasoning on some old pork chop.”
Dighton sent over 160 books with a hand-written message to various producers and actors who attended the events. Sharing hope has become his mission.