Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
The local Toys for Tots campaign got a hefty boost Wednesday from “The Pipeline Ladies,” who presented Stephen Hutson, left, Jr. Vice Commandant of the Marine Corps League Detachment 1381, and fellow detachment member Shannon Murphrey with a trailer full of toys and a $761 check for the project, which runs through Dec. 18.
Marshall resident Patricia Christmas said the group is comprised of wives and girlfriends of crew members with Michel's Construction of Brownsville, Wisc., who are working on the TransCanada Gulf Coast pipeline project that began near Cherokee County this month.
“We talk about what we might be able to do to benefit the area we are staying in,” and recently while eating lunch she noticed a man with a shirt publicizing Toys for Tots, Christmas said.
A light bulb went off in her mind and she presented it to the group when they next gathered, receiving unanimous support.
“It's an act of love, of compassion and giving – we like to share our good fortune and giving with others,” she said.
“I'm still on a high ... and it's not just the ladies (who contribute), but the men on the job, who (gave) money because they were more than willing to donate to the program.”
Hutson said the recent donation, along with those earlier this week from Grace Visiting Nurses and the local public library “really gave our campaign a really good boost. As it gets closer to Christmas, it generally starts picking up and we begin seeing more donations.”
His detachment collects items annually for the national Marine Corps Reserve “Toys for Tots” campaign, which presents children in need with new toys at Christmas.
Members work with various organizations in the county who identify these children and presents a wishlist to the community to help realize requests.
Later today, members of the detachment will sponsor a toy drive at Atwoods on South Jackson Street from 4 p.m. until closing, as well as collect toys starting at 10 a.m. Saturday during a veteran support benefit at the store.
Also on Saturday, the Rusk Junior High Student Council is sponsoring a “Trot for Tots” fun run/walk event at the local high school to raise funds and collect toys for the campaign.
For more information about the Toys for Tots campaign, contact Chuck Bones, commandant of Det. 1381, at 903-721-1277.