ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A family in Altamonte Springs is taking their tragedy and turning it into something good. They’re keeping their deceased son’s memory alive during the holiday season.
A sporting goods store may not seem special, but it’s the boy behind the store that makes this one stand out.
“It helps us get through the holiday. it's still tough for us.”
Steve Smelski’s 11-year-old son, Jordan, died four years ago of an infection from a rare amoeba after vacationing in Costa Rica.
“That first year, we were trying to get through Christmas and our sister-in-law Sally called us,” said Smelski.
She dreamed that Jordan told her to open a sporting goods store for children for the holidays. Jordan loved playing sports.
Now it’s the fifth year they’ll open the store for two days in a Altamonte Springs, giving away nearly 400 donated sporting goods.
Dozens of volunteers help each year. For some, it means so much.
“Well he lost his son and well, I lost my daughter. We have a connection,” said volunteer Randy Adkison, of Apopka.
“Some of the children, that's all their going to get for Christmas so it's awesome to see the looks on their faces. That's why we do it,” said Smelski.
When kids come in here, they'll be able to pick any one item from this entire store, but the idea is not only to come home with a gift. It's also to keep Jordan's spirit alive.
“We worry that people will forget who Jordan was or what he was like, but at the same time use what happened to Jordan to help save others.”
The store is open Saturday and Sunday at West Town Corners at 280 S State Road 434, Suite 1045 in Altamonte Springs. For more information on where, what, or how to donate, visit the Jordan Smelski Foundation website.