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Henrico man honors late wife with school fundraiser

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 3:59 PM EDT
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - A Henrico man found a new purpose in life after experiencing great loss. Now, he spends his time fundraising to give back to the students at Ruby F. Carver Elementary School.

“He’s an unsung hero for us,” Danielle Perry, the school Guidance Counselor at Carver, says.

That hero is Mike O’Toole.

“When they call and ask for help you want to help,” O’Toole said.

That deep desire to help comes from a place where he once felt helpless. The luck of the Irish was on Mike O’Toole’s side when he married the love of his life, Jane in 1987, and started a family.

”Our three children all went here, three boys, and whenever the children were here my wife was involved,” O’Toole said.

Helping out with field trips, attending PTA meetings, fundraisers, you name it, Jane was an important part of the Carver family, supporting her 3 boys, their classmates and teachers alike.

”She was a doer, an organizer, she was somebody that you can count on. so that’s how we like to be, try to live your life like Jane,” O’Toole said.

One Saturday morning, about 4 years ago Jane unexpectedly passed away. Mike wanted to do something special to sustain his wife’s legacy while helping the students at Carver.

“Walk for Jane O” was born, with the money raised being invested in the school she loved.

”His giving is not just a passion of his but I truly feel like it’s a purpose for his life. he has just helped so many people with his giving and contributions,” Perry said. “If there are students who need Christmas gifts, Mike is there.”

Food on the table for Thanksgiving, Mike is there.

If a student feels all alone and needs someone to play with, when Mike is not there, they can sit on the buddy bench he purchased and wait for another student to come over and play.

In countless donations of classroom materials and supplies and you’ve got tangible impact.

These are just some of the reasons why, along with some faculty and staff members wanted to say, ‘thank you!’ by honoring him with $300 dollars in cash and a $50 dollar gift card to Mexico Restaurant.

”He is a behind the scenes kind of guy and doesn’t want a lot of fanfare for all that he has done, so I just want to sprinkle a little bit of kindness his way,” Perry said. “Mike’s love for his wife will never waiver nor will his commitment to the Carver family.”

He has turned his biggest loss into something his wife could be proud of.

”The fact that we can help and do it in memory of such a special person is rewarding,” O’Toole said.

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