Mary and Elvis Sverko regularly donate clothing and other items to area veterans groups.
A few weeks ago, Mary Sverko, a 39-year-old mother of three, was putting together several bags of items to take to AMVETS when she saw what appeared to be a new photo album in a closet.
“I assumed it was empty,” she said, so she bundled it with several bags for donation.
Eventually the album wound up for sale at the Village Discount Outlet thrift store on State Road in Cuyahoga Falls.
There, it caught the eye of Carleen Gleason.
When Gleason, a Cuyahoga Falls resident, looked through the album, she found nearly 40 photographs from what appeared to be a baptism. A little girl in the photos was identified as Sofia Elizabeth.
She bought the album, for $2.50, and took it home. Then she called the Beacon Journal to help her get the album back to Sofia Elizabeth’s family.
Following an article and pictures about the album published Dec. 5, the newspaper received tips that the priest in one of the photographs was the Rev. Dave Woost of Divine Word Catholic Church in the Lake County village of Kirtland. A reporter contacted Woost, who in turn contacted the Sverko family, whose daughter he baptized in 2007.
On Wednesday, Gleason told Mary Sverko she would mail the album and photos to the family’s Kirtland home.
Sverko said she is “still amazed” at the kindness Gleason has shown in trying to get the pictures back to her family.
“I think most people would have thrown them away and not bothered,” she said. “That is impressive to me.”
Sofia Elizabeth, now 6, attends first grade at Kirtland Elementary School. She has two sisters: Isabella, 13, and Alessandria, 12.
Gleason said she was happy that she will be able to return such important mementos to the family.
“It’s great,” she said. “I am tickled.”
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or firstname.lastname@example.org.