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Police, firefighters raise $15,000, deliver Christmas miracle to Henrico child who lost his parents

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Posted at 7:23 PM, Dec 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-25 19:23:31-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Police officers and firefighters in Henrico County raised more than $15,000 to help provide a Merry Christmas for a three-year-old boy who has already endured a lifetime's worth of tragedy.

Tommy Oppermann, 3, opens his Christmas gifts (PHOTO: Jon Burkett)

Tommy Oppermann, 3, opens his Christmas gifts (PHOTO: Jon Burkett)

In June 2012, a then one-year-old Tommy Oppermann and his mother Reina were thrown from a car during a crash on North Laburnum Avenue. Tommy, who was in his car seat survived, his mother did not.

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Tommy Oppermann's mother was killed in a crash in June 2012.

For the next two years, Tommy lived with his father Erik.

Erik, a 44-year-old volunteer firefighter, died this December of a heart attack. Tommy was in the bed with his father when his dad died.

Tommy's situation touched the hearts many of Henrico's first responders, some of whom responded to both the car accident two years ago and Erik's December heart attack.

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Tommy and Erik Oppermann

That is why so many first responders raised money around the office for little Tommy. After all the money was pooled together, more than $15,000 was raised.

Henrico Police took Tommy's aunt and guardian Gretchen Miller to Target to go shopping for Tommy and his cousins.

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Gretchen Miller said shopping with Henrico Police was awesome.

"We're going to re-start his life and have some fun," Miller said about the generosity showed by police and firefighters. She said shopping for the children was really awesome and the most she smiled all week.

She could not however hold back the tears as she helped wrapped gifts for the children.

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Gretchen Miller comforted while she helped wrap gifts from the children.

In addition to buying Christmas gifts, the money was spent on clothes and household supplies. The family was able to save some of the money to used as needed later in life.