Community helps family hit by thieves


Last week, a soldier about to deploy to Afghanistan returned home to find that burglars had wiped his family clean. Now, complete strangers have stepped up to help them out.

Ten-year-old R.J. Young is all smiles again. A stranger gave him a PlayStation to replace the one a Christmas Grinch stole from him.

"It's way better than having no PlayStation," said R.J.

Someone drove down from Apex to make sure he got the gaming system. That's just one of the gifts and donations that have poured in to help turn the family's holiday plight into real Christmas cheer.

"People helped us to make this Christmas for us," said 12-year-old Tatianna Young. "It's going to be a special Christmas."

On Friday, thieves broke into Sgt. Patrick Jacobson's Fayetteville home and took everything from computers to Christmas gifts not yet under the tree. The family, known around the community for its generosity, was devastated.  

Jacobson says what hurt the most was losing $1,000 the family had saved for a Christmas trip to New York to see his kids there before he ships out to Afghanistan early next year.

But now, Jacobson will get his Christmas wish to see his sons. Shannon Jacobson says hundreds of people have emailed her donating cash and other gifts.

"And when we are able to get to New York and see Patrick's boys, we'll take a picture and those people will know they made that moment happen for us," said Shannon.

"That is Christmas, to get my whole family together," said Sgt. Jacobson. "Just, it's everything to me especially right before I deploy."

While they are overwhelmed by what they're receiving, they too have a gift to give this Christmas -- the gift of forgiveness.

"It's like your heart fills up with love again and again, and you feel like a bad thing gets washed away with love, and caring," said Shannon.

They say they know and feel the real spirit of Christmas.

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