Brothers set up snack stand to help raise money for families of fallen Cleveland police officers

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BROOKLYN, Ohio (WJW) — Eight-year-old Gideon Trank and his six-year-old brother Josiah are spending the Labor Day weekend working.

Along with their parents, they are running a snack and refreshment stand in front of their home on Vandalia Avenue in Brooklyn.

Money raised by the Trank brothers is being donated to the families of Cleveland Police Detective James Skernivitz, who was shot to death along with a police informant during an undercover operation on Thursday night, and Officer Nick Sabo, who took his own life later that night.  

“I felt sad and when we did all this, I felt happy,” said Gideon Trank.

Gideon and Josiah have raised money before for the families of other first responders, and told their parents that they were upset when they heard about how Jim Skernivitz had been killed in the line of duty in neighboring Cleveland.

Josiah told Fox 8, “because the bad guys shot the police officer and that’s why I’m frustrated.”

The brothers asked their parents what they could do to lift up the officers’ grieving families, and send them a message.

“We love them, we’re here to support them, we hope everybody does too and we hope everybody is there for them through this hard time,” said their mother, Machelle Trank.

The boys are home schooled and their parents say the lessons learned since Thursday night are more important than math or science.

“Just compassion, compassion and love for others, that hate needs to stop,” said their father, Avery Trank.

The generosity of the Trank family is also inspiring other Clevelanders to get involved and help the families of the officers. One couple dropped off a check for $1,000 and a local businessman has offered to match whatever money the family is able to raise.

Throughout the day, donors opened their hearts and their pocketbooks, motivated by their concern for the grieving families, and their respect for the Trank brothers.

Luanne and Dwain May, who are employees of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, told us “we wanted to contribute our share and tell them what a great job they’re doing…that is fantastic, this is more of what we need from our youth.”

It turns out Gideon and Josiah Trank have taught us all a lesson in kindness and empathy, at a time when two families are hurting so much.

“Feel the love, it’s a hard time right now and they’re going through the worst, and we need to hold them up,” said Kim Nemeth, a former Life Flight nurse.

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