After preparing to spend the first Christmas with his 2 1/2 year old son, Sgt. Jace Brueland was surprised to find out his home in Oklahoma had been robbed on Christmas Eve.
Bueland has commited his life to the military. At the age of 17 he joined the Army with one of the highest entrance exam scores in the history of the Army.
In his sixth year of service, Brueland didn’t expect to come home to find that thieves had stolen all of the Christmas gifts he had bought for his son.
“I made sure that the Christmas tree was set up, all the lights were set up — everything was perfect,” he said to KSAT. “As soon as I came home, I realized everything was gone, and it was all ruined again.”
Leslie Gartin, Brueland’s stepmother, did not let the theives ruin Christmas for their family though.
She posted in a Facebook garage sale group on Christmas Eve to explain their situation and ask if anyone had any extra toys they had wrapped. She said she would reimburse them for the toys at retail price.
Little did she know, the community would come together to provide Brueland’s son, Liam, a deserving Christmas.
“People were, you know, ‘What can we give you? What can we do for you? How can we make this better?'” Gartin said.
When Liam and his father returned home on Christmas night there were dozens of gifts under the tree, mostly from strangers who felt compelled to help.
“Not one person would let me pay for anything,” said Gartin.
The surprises were not over by the end of the evening. A disabled veteran, Jerry Lazaroff, came in person to deliver an envelope of cash and some holiday cheer. He had originally set the money aside for charity but felt this was a worthy cause.
“It’s about taking care of family and our military,” Lazaroff said.
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