It didn’t take long after their story was published on the Bangor Daily News website on Friday morning for folks to rally behind the Fickett family of Clifton.
Chris and Tina Fickett, along with their son Chris Jr., were inundated by good wishes, the promise of some unexpected gifts and numerous media inquiries in the wake of the revelation that someone had stolen a football containing the autographs of three members of the New England Patriots’ 2002 Super Bowl championship team.
The football had belonged to their son, 19-year-old Harold “Thomas” Fickett, who died in a pickup truck crash in Unity on Aug. 16, 2016.
News of the Ficketts’ tragedy, and subsequent misfortune involving the souvenir football, spread quickly around social media on Friday.
“Your story has gone viral. All the news agencies seem to want it,” a humbled Chris Fickett Sr. said in a text message.
Upon hearing about the situation, folks in the New England Patriots organization sprang into action.
Patriots Community Relations Coordinator Julie Redwine, who said the story touched the Kraft family (the team owners) and the organization, reached out in the hope of contacting the Ficketts.
Redwine subsequently spoke with Chris Fickett Sr. and informed him that the Patriots would be sending the family a football autographed by New England quarterback Tom Brady, along with an enhanced “fan pack.”
The other gifts include winter hats, fuzzy socks, a yearbook, a Tom Brady puzzle and team photo, rubber bracelets, flags and other items to help the Ficketts cheer on the Patriots during Super Bowl LI.
The gifts were scheduled to arrive in Clifton sometime on Saturday.
The Ficketts’ story also struck a chord with Tyler Crowl, a Houston Texans fan who lives in Texas.
He owns a piece of memorabilia that he wants the Ficketts to have.
“I read the story [Friday] morning on my Twitter feed. I just wanted to help,” said Crowl, who plans to send the Ficketts an authentic NFL game jersey autographed by Brady.
“Today’s world is really messed up, [but] I hope this jersey brings them some peace,” Crowl said.
“I noticed their son wore the No. 12 [jersey at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor], and I thought it would be pretty special sending the Brady jersey.”
Crowl pointed out that in spite of his own football allegiances, his grandmother, who lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts, is a big Patriots fan.
“I know it won’t be as special as the ball, but hopefully they will enjoy it,” Crowl said.