Photo By PAULA MULLER
From left, detective Jim Schultz, Swampscott PD, Jacob Olsen, Joi Tompkins, Seth Olsen and John Sacherski, post commander of Swampscott VFW 1240. Jacob and Seth Olsen were the recipients of a holiday donation.
By MICHELE DURGIN
SWAMPSCOTT — Local twins won’t forget the Christmas generosity shown to them by some local residents who knew the boys were mourning their mother’s death even as their father remains hospitalized.
Swampscott Police Lt. Jim Schultz led the effort to ensure 13-year-old Seth and Jacob Olsen received a Christmas filled with love, gifts and a few favorite foods.
The story began a few weeks ago when Schultz asked for help from town school employees in identifying any child that workers felt were in need of some help at Christmas. This year wasn’t the first Schultz stepped up to help.
The lifelong Swampscott resident who also happens to be the town’s Veterans’ Service Officer, Schultz reaches out annually on behalf of John Sacherski, commander of the town’s VFW Post 1240. They choose a local family in need and hand deliver a $500 check to help make Christmas a bit brighter.
On Thursday, Schultz and Sacherski presented Joi Tompkins and the twins with the check. The twins beamed and joined their aunt in tearful hugs. Tompkins talked about the death of the boy’s mother, Helene, several months ago.
“It has been a tough year, to say the least. Helene was my best friend, and their dad is in the hospital right now. He is not doing well, and is on a ventilator, and will need to walk with two crutches for the rest of his life. I am so thankful for this gift today and I can’t tell you how much it means to the boys and me,” Tompkins said.
The boys live with older brother, Nelson and his wife, Katherine. Even as the twins remembered their mother and thought of their father, they became uncles Thursday to newborn niece, Stella.
“It is truly unbelievable .It is such an uplifting moment from such wonderful and generous people. She went on to share that things might just be turning the corner for the family,” Joi Tompkins said.
The boys were grateful to the veterans’ generosity.
“ I am so shocked right now . It’s going to be a great Christmas and I want to say thank you to all of the people who have helped us, starting with the nurse at our school, Swampscott Middle School. She really helps us a lot,” Seth said.
Jacob said Schultz and Sacherski gave the boys “a real Christmas.”
“I am so happy right now,” he said, adding “It feels good to know that people really care about us.”
Schultz credited town Det. Rose Cheever for helping single out the twins for assistance and credited donors who helped make the gift to the boys possible.
“I am proud to represent a great group of donors. This was a good choice. The look on the boys faces makes it all worthwhile and I am happy to be here,” he said.
Sacherski chimed in and said, “This is what Christmas is really all about. I am so glad we could help this family smile a little bit on Christmas .”
Before the men said goodbye Thursday, Seth said he looked forward to remembering his mother with breakfast at one of her favorite eateries – McDonald’s.
“Please say thanks to everyone who helped us,” he told Sacherski and Schultz.