MANTUA, OH (WOIO) - When a family loses a soldier, police officer or firefighter, the pain is unimaginable. But a local husband and wife are doing something beautiful and caring for the children of those fallen heroes, and you can help. For this week's Romona's Kids, we take you to Mantua.
"When we lose a hero, it's hard on all of us, but for the children, they don't understand death, they don't understand loss, but they do understand sadness and all they know is that dad's not there," said Scott Snyder, co-founder of Hero's Rock. "These rockers give them a little bit of pleasure right now and later on in life, they'll realize that a bunch of people came together and cared."
Scott and Trish Snyder, whose Trott Wood Creations company makes custom rockers, formed Hero's Rock four years ago. Their first tribute rocker was built in honor of Chesterland soldier Christopher Thibodeau, an Apache helicopter pilot killed in Afghanistan in 2011, one week after learning he was going to be a father. He promised his wife he would build the baby a rocker.
"So the fact that we were building it, fulfilling his wish, just kind of gave us the chills," said Trish Snyder, co-founder of Hero's Rock. "We had always planned to give away one rocker for every 10 we sold, and when we heard about Chris, we knew we could do something special so we decided to form Hero's Rock and create tribute rockers."
In 2013, they presented a tribute to fallen officer Jason Gresko to his little girl: a police car representing both the Willoughby and Cleveland Clinic Police Departments, where he worked.
"I told my brother when we closed that casket, 'Your name will never be forgotten,' and what Scott and Trish do, makes that dream inside of me live on," said Nick Gresko, Jason's brother. "Every time my niece goes to that rocker, she says, 'There's my daddy,' and that means so much to me because her being so young. I never want her to lose who her dad was.'"
The model for the rocker honoring Sgt. Frank World of Buffalo, was his beloved dog, Mundo, in Marine dress blues, complete with medals and authentic buttons from Quantico, VA.
The Snyders are already planning a rocker for the daughter of recently fallen Akron officer Justin Winebrenner. It will be named "Crime Dawg," Justin's nickname.
Donations to help pay for the rocker can be made on Hero's Rock website, and every $5 donation gives the donor a chance to win a Trott Wood Creations rocker for themselves. Each donation is a 1 in 600 chance to win.
"It's about the families and the children of the people who lay their life on the line every day, and they don't ask for anything in return. The only thing they ask is that their hero is never forgotten, and that's what we try to do," said Scott Snyder.