A Wolcott family was in for a sweet surprise after losing everything in a fire earlier this week.
"Please accept this on behalf of the police union: a Target gift card of $1,000," said union representative Rich Hamel, as he presented the victims with the gift Friday. "And also, the dispatchers and the civilian workers of the Wolcott Police Department took up collection and they put it in a card here for you guys, and they want you guys to have it also."
"Thank you so much," fire victim Katie O'Brien said through tears.
Her brother, Colin, shook Hamel's hand.
The money was a total surprise for the O'Brien siblings, who are struggling to move forward after flames engulfed their home on Garrigus Court earlier this week. The brother and sister were able to escape on their own, but their mother was trapped on the second floor and needed to be rescued.
"You saved my mom's life," Katie O'Brien told the officers who rescued her.
She said her mother is doing well and was expected to be out of the hospital by the end of the Friday.
"The mother starts coming out of the second-floor window, and we were able to get on a Billco door and climb up and grab onto her," described Officer Peter Garguillo, one of the woman's rescuers.
Now, being able to stand inside the police department alive and safe gives the O'Brien family a new perspective.
"This just shows me that now I need to work even harder for what I want because you don't know when it's going to end," Katie O'Brien explained. "And you want to make life as great as possible."
The family plans to use the gift card and donations to buy a bed and clothes for their mother, and to pay for a hotel room until they find a permanent place to live.
If you’d like to donate to the family, contact the Wolcott Police Department at 203-879-1414.