Drive collects 3,059 toys

Published 12:46 pm Tuesday, December 21, 2010

BAINBRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL Air Force Junior ROTC cadets, local Salvation Army personnel and volunteers gather around part of the record 3,059 toys collected in this year’s Toys For Tots program. From the left, are Principal Tommie Howell; Juanita King, Melanie Hutchins, Haley Harrell and Gloria Harrell, all of the Salvation Army; next semester’s ROTC cadet corps commander Adam Anderson, BHS ROTC program director Col. Dave Stewart and Toys For Tots project officer Rebecca Schoeneman.|Joe Crine

The 11th annual Bainbridge High School Air Force Junior ROTC Toys For Tots drive—in conjunction with the Deep South Riders and the Salvation Army—collected 3,059 toys to be distributed to local children during the Christmas season.

The toys were turned over to local Salvation Army Executive Director Gloria Harrell Friday in a special ceremony at the BHS Air Force Junior ROTC classroom.

The Toys For Tots program is a national project of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

Email newsletter signup

Col. Dave Stewart, director of the BHS Air Force Junior ROTC unit, and Harrell both expressed extreme happiness with the record number of toys collected.

“The goal for our unit was 2,011 toys,” Col. Stewart said. “Our cadets did a great job in exceeding that goal. Our Toys for Tots project commander Cadet 2nd Lt. Rebecca Schoeneman did an outstanding job.”

Project officer Schoeneman said her fellow cadets and students, along with people in the community, were overwhelmingly generous this year.

During the recent Deep South Riders Toy Run, 1,018 toys were collected.

The ROTC broke its 2,011 goal by collecting 2,041 toys from students and boxes at various locations throughout the community.

Harrell said she knew the goal would be met and surpassed.

“I knew all we had to do was trust in God and he would provide for our needs,” she said. “The toys we received from the ROTC, the Deep South Riders and people throughout Bainbridge and Decatur County are a blessing and they provide for all of our children’s needs and put smiles on a lot of faces.”

Joining Col. Stewart and BHS Principal Tommie Howell for Friday’s ceremony were Air Force Junior ROTC Senior Master Sgt. Frank Geslak, recently retired Air Force Junior ROTC program director Col. Gary Breedlove, Juanita King and Melanie Hutchins of the Salvation Army, Harrell’s granddaughter, Haley Harrell, who helped with the drive, and Adam Anderson, next semester’s cadet Corps commander.

Harrell said the Salvation Army kettle drive will continue through Christmas Eve and any one who would like to volunteer to man a kettle and ring a bell can call the Salvation Army at 243-7250.