Last week, Cpl. Christopher Petrossian didn’t know how he’d give his family the Christmas of their dreams after thousands of dollars in gifts were stolen from his Lodi home.
Today, thanks to the generosity of hundreds, more gifts are beneath the Petrossians’ tree than could fit on Santa’s sleigh.
Petrossian, home for two months from his third tour in Afghanistan, said he’s received thousands of dollars in gifts and cash donations since the Lodi News-Sentinel first reported that burglars had stolen dozens of presents and ransacked his home.
“This is going to be a great Christmas for me, my wife and my girls,” he said.
Since Saturday, Petrossian has received dozens — if not hundreds — of phone calls, emails and Facebook messages from people wanting to lend a hand.
Over the weekend, one stranger stood in front of Safeway, collecting donations for the family. Petrossian received phone calls from people as far away as West Virgina, hoping to help.
The Lodi Adopt a Child organization gave Petrossian and his wife, Cheryl, a check for $500 and a bag of toys for their daughters, Adriana, 6, and Carilyn, 4.
“We talked about it and said that we have to be a part of rehabilitating this family,” said Jerry Glen, director of Lodi Adopt a Child.
When Lodi police officer Eric Bradley, a veteran of the first Gulf War, learned Petrossian was an active-duty soldier, he sought help from members of the police and fire departments, as well as city employees.
“I’m a veteran,” he said. “I know what it’s like to come back just before Christmas. It’s one of those things that we as veterans take care of each other in the service, and we need to take care of each other when we’re out. It’s a lifetime commitment.”
Thanks to the flood of donations, Petrossian has been able to replace nearly everything that was stolen or broken during the home invasion.
“For complete strangers to go out of their way at a time like this when times are hard — they went out of their way to help our family,” Petrossian said.
On Dec. 16, just days before Petrossian was scheduled to return home to surprise his wife and daughters, his wife, Cheryl, frantically called, saying their home had been burglarized.
Police are asking anyone with information about the burglary to contact the Lodi Police Department at 209-333-6727 or Lodi Crime Stoppers at 209-369-2746.
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.