PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The community came together on Friday on help raise the spirits of two Providence children affected by tragedy earlier this month.
The boys are members of the West Elmood Intruders, a youth football team who traveled to Disney World for a national football tournament. While on their way back home, one of the vehicles transporting the players got into a serious crash in South Carolina.
The mother of one of the players was killed in the crash, while another player suffered extensive injuries to his face and legs.
On Friday, Rhode Island State Police presented the boys with autographed New England Patriots jerseys.
“We sincerely hope these gifts make your holiday a little brighter,” Major Christopher Dicomitis said as he presented the boys with the framed jerseys at the South Side Boys and Girls Club in Providence.
The autographed jerseys were donated by Steve Barbato of Stevie B. Sports in Warwick, who said he was moved by the story of what happened.
“I wanted to make sure they had some joy in their lives because every kid deserves to smile at Christmas,” Barbato said.
State police said Barbato brought the shirts to Edgewood Gallery in Cranston to have them framed and the owner of the company, Ron Caracchio, donated the labor and materials.
“When I told [Caracchio] the story he said, ‘well, you’re not paying for it, I’ll frame them,'” Barbato recalled. “Then Tasca Automotive, where I work, heard what I was doing and they said, ‘I know it sounds like I’m plugging everybody but we’ll pay for everything.’ So the support was overwhelming.”