MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Calling 2010 its best year for the Marine Corps Reserves’ annual Toys for Tots campaign in Albany and its surrounding communities, Santa’s helpers didn’t wear the traditional red and green, but scarlet and blue.
Outfitted in their dress blues uniform, Marines from Detachment 2, Supply Company, 4th Supply Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve, collected 14,500 toys for less fortunate children to brighten up their Christmas.
Business members and communities’ residents donated 9,500 toys and 1st Sgt. James Watson, first sergeant, Inspector-Instructor, Detachment 2, Supply Company, purchased 5,000 more toys from $5,000 in funds delivered from the public.
The Marines and community members delivered the toys on Dec. 18, 2010, to families in Albany, Dawson, Americus, Crisp, Tifton, Cordele, Valdosta, Bainbridge, Thomasville, Cairo and Camilla, according to Watson.
“This was the best year ever,” Watson said. “We went above and beyond our goals.” Each child received four toys and every household received books, he said, noting the local Toys for Tots campaign assisted 6,600 children this year and requests were more than 2009.
“We started out with zero toys and the surrounding cities of Albany stepped up — business groups and banks all stepped forward to help this year,” Watson said. “We had an outpouring from the community and they did an outstanding job. All entrepreneurs of the business community stepped forward including church and veterans groups, Rotary and Kiwanis clubs.”
About 20 active duty and Reserve Marines worked on the campaign full time and 25 civilians worked on it part time.
“We did a lot of advertisement with the Toys for Tots train at the mall,” Watson said. He added that in 2010 it was the first time the train was displayed at the mall. Other notable 2010 Toys for Tots events included a golf tournament and an Air Evacuation Lifeteam unit that delivered roughly 150 toys via helicopter for the Toys for Tots program.
The golf tournament was held in conjunction with the Salvation Army on Dec. 5, 2010, at River Pointe Golf Course that raised funds for toys and to send 25 Albany area children to summer camp in 2011.
“Last year we sent 20 children and this year we’re sending 25,” Watson said. “The children get out of Albany and go to camp near Rome, Ga., for a week. It’s fully paid and they don’t have any out-of-pocket costs.”
Training with base emergency personnel on Dec. 16, 2010, the Air Evacuation Lifeteam unit landed for the first time on Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and used the event as an opportunity to drop off toys.
Watson thanked the cities’ residents for their help.
“Without the community support and without the spirit of the community, this would never have had taken place,” he said. “Even though we’re in a bad economical time, we had fantastic support from the community and the community itself came together.”