Community helps surprise young birthday boy during difficult tim - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Community helps surprise young birthday boy during difficult time

Carterville community helps celebrate Zack Swain's birthday Carterville community helps celebrate Zack Swain's birthday
Zack and his family spending time together. (Source: Carrie Swain) Zack and his family spending time together. (Source: Carrie Swain)
CARTERVILLE, IL (KFVS) -

A Heartland community celebrates a little boy’s birthday in a big way after going through a difficult time.

Twelve-year-old Zack Swain thought he would be celebrating his birthday on Tuesday with his family at Cannon Park, but what he got was much more.

“I was like, 'what’s going on,'” Zack said.

“We all wanted to get together to make sure Zack had a good day," family friend who helped organize the event, Karl Gusentine said.

Police officers, firefighters, family friends and his classmates all surprised Zack for his special day.

A feeling Zack describes as happy and surprised.

“I didn’t think they would all come just for me,” he said.

For Zack, this year’s birthday was different.

“I asked Zack what he wanted for his birthday, and he told me I couldn’t give him what he wanted because he wanted his dad back," Zack's mother, Carrie Swain said.

Zack’s father, William Swain passed away suddenly last week. A coal miner and a former volunteer firefighter, Zack described his dad as someone who was always there.

“He was really funny and he never met a stranger," Zack said with a huge smile on his face. "He would always talk to you and be awesome, just be a friend.”

But seeing the community coming together for his special day brought smiles and even a few dance moves.

Carrie said she's just overwhelmed.

"And outpouring of love from all these people, took time out of their day to come help a little boy get through probably the most terrible day day of his life," she said. "All of ours."

With his mom and older sisters, Madison and Hannah, they wanted to let Zack know that their dad is always with them.

"I love him," his sister, Madison Swain said. "And that it’s going to be okay." 

"Dad’s watching him always," his other sister, Hannah Swain said.

It's something that Zack said he will always know.

“He’s always with us," he said.

Funeral arrangements have been set for Zack’s father this week.

One thing Zack and his family said was that their dad always had a smile on his face, and spending time with his family was his top priority. 

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