The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and the Marine Corps League Leland D. "Crow" Crawford Detachment 956 of Elkins completed their 10th annual Toys for Tots distribution in the Elkins region. The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to provide joy and hope to the underprivileged children of our nation.
The Elkins Marine Corps League collected and purchased more than 8,900 toys and stuffed animals in Randolph and several other North Central West Virginia counties during the campaign. The Elkins area Marine Corps League members distributed these toys to 921 families with a total of 1,915 children in Randolph, Barbour, Lewis, Tucker and Upshur counties and areas in Harrison, Greenbrier, Pocahontas and Webster counties.
This program was a huge success due to the support, enthusiasm, generous donations and sponsorship of the following organizations and businesses: all three Elkins Dollar General stores; Dollar General stores in Buckhannon, Weston, Jane Lew, Belington and Philippi; Elkins CVS; Big Lots; Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership; Kmart; Walgreen's Drug Store in Elkins; Skinner Insurance Agency; Dailey Grill Restaurant Fudge Shoppe; Elkins Rehabilitation and Care Center; Refuge Church in Gilman; Landmark Baptist Church; Applebee's of Elkins; Youth Health Services of Elkins; Junior Woman's Club of Elkins and Elkins High School Senior project at CJ Maggie's in Elkins; Elkins YMCA and Chamber of Commerce; Smitty's Suzuki of Buckhannon; Rob's Fitness Factory of Buckhannon; Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3663 of Buckhannon; American Legion Post 7 of Buckhannon; Farm Credit and Country Mortgages in Mt. Clare; Old Navy store and Go Calendar and Game store in Meadowbrook Mall; Toys 'R' Us in Bridgeport; John Bowers and Son Auction in French Creek; H&M Motor Co. in Weston; Robert L. Bland Middle School in Weston; Town and Country Chrysler-Dodge in Belington; and Canaan Valley Ski Resort.
A special thanks goes to the West Virginia Work Force; Randolph and Tucker County Department of Health and Human Resources offices; William Edmond of Belington; Tyler Gum and his senior project at Tygarts Valley High School; Norma Fitzwater; Papa John's Pizza of Elkins; Elkins Shop N Save; and Mt. Vernon Colonials 4-H Club of Camp Pioneer. The Elkins-Randolph County Airport Authority and Dick Chaney deserve a generous thank you for allowing storage of these toys, serving as a distribution point and for constantly keeping the road and parking lot safe. The Inter-Mountain is thanked and commended for continuous advertising and media coverage of selected events.
Monetary donations were needed this year to ensure the success of the Toys for Tots Program in Elkins. A heartfelt thank you goes to Kenneth Butler, Margy Burns, Denise Campbell, Susan Ann and Mary Grace Hinzman, Anthony and Mali Minter of Arbovale, John and Pamela Ford of Arbovale, Megan Jackson, Independent Order of Odd Fellows Randolph IOOF Lodge 116, Elkins Big Lots employees, Mountain Valley Bank, Jay Wallace of Allegheny Insurance, Huttonsville Correctional Center Warden Marvin Plumley and Albert Fordyce and Elkins Walmart for its generous grant. There are others who deserve thanks but they are too numerous to mention.
A live promotional event was hosted at Applebee's in Elkins and Toys 'R' Us in Bridgeport. The owners, managers and employees of these businesses are thanked for their support, event advertising and donations. The wonderful customers who donated toys are thanked for their generosity. The consideration and extreme kindness demonstrated by the stores' employees, managers and owners was contagious and welcomed. The time, energy and commitment of all the Elkins Marine Corps League members is fully appreciated. Their drive, commitment and support was tremendous.
Lastly, thank you to all the schools, churches, support groups and other organizations who worked to help ensure that any needy child received a gift for Christmas. This annual program was made possible by these Elkins Marine Corps League Detachment 956 members including Harvey and Judy Gum, Charlie and Joyce Eddy, Ron and Cindy Bodkin and Chris Bodkin, Joe Bertelli, Dave Rice, Greg Irwin, Mike McRae, Roy Wood and Judith Ware and volunteers Tyler Gum, Robbie Gum and Jordan Gum. Roger Ware served as area chairman and Mike McRae of Elkins and Harvey Gum of Valley Bend served as regional co-chairmen. They are thanked for volunteering more than 1,270 community hours and traveling more than 5,300 miles thus ensuring this project was successful for needy children in Randolph and surrounding counties.
Elkins Marine Corps League
Toys for Tots Chairman