Posts in Category: TXSG Toy Drive

A Child's Smile Brings Joy To All! Texas State Guard 4th Regiment "Young Heroes Of The Guard" Toy Drive a Success

Story by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Janet Schmelzer, TXSG

Posted:  December 28, 2015

sorting gifts
4th Regiment soldiers sort hundreds of toys for children who are patients at Cook Children's Medical Center, Fort Worth, Texas, December 12, 2015.  This annual "Young Heroes of the Guard" toy drive exemplifies the community service mission of the Texas State Guard. (Photo by Sgt. Byron Sims, 4th Regiment, TXSG/Released)
4th Regiment Toy Drive
4th Regiment soldiers delivered hundreds of toys to children who are patients at Cook Children's Medical Center, Fort Worth, Texas, December 12, 2015.  This annual "Young Heroes of the Guard" toy drive exemplifies the community service mission of the Texas State Guard. (Photo by Sgt. Byron Sims, 4th Regiment, TXSG/Released)

FORT WORTH, Texas - With bundles of toys, the 4th Regiment, Texas State Guard, surprised children at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, at the sixth annual Texas State Guard "Young Heroes of the Guard" Toy Drive, December 12, 2015. 

"Seeing these children at Cook smile with joy makes all 4th Regiment guardsmen smile with joy, too," commented Col. Alfred Sustaita, Commander of the 4th Regiment.

"Many of these children will be spending the holidays in the medical center.  And we are so privileged to bring cheer and happiness to the children.  This is a favorite event for the regiment.  We have more fun than anyone can imagine bringing toys here." 

This year the regiment delivered over 3,400 toys for children of all ages, including 300 collected at the Dallas Margarita Society Ball, Dallas, Texas, November 21, 2015 and 1,700 toys collected by 1st Battalion, 2nd Regiment, Texas State Guard during its "Young Heroes of the Guard" toy drive, and hundreds of toys donated by the Marine Corps Reserves "Toys for Tots."  

"I am so happy to be helping these families at Cook during the holiday season and there is always welcoming smiles," commented Pfc. Matthew Gustavsen, 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment.  "We try to make the critically ill children happy and we pick out special toys for them.  We learned that one little boy will not see another Christmas.  I felt sadness yet I was humbled that we could make this Christmas a happy one." 

Maj. Michael Potts, Executive Officer, 4th Regiment, spoke about a mother that he met on the hospital elevator.  "She thanked me for doing what we were doing. She said when her two-year son got the toy from the soldier, it was the first time since his operation that he smiled."
 
"All of these children are our heroes," stated 4th Regiment Chaplain (Capt.) David Fish, "and to bring smiles to the children is a real blessing to us all." "We are already looking forward to our 2016 toy drive."  Chaplain Fish is the guiding force for the 4th Regiment toy drive.

The generosity of Texans helped the 4th Regiment to fill up collection boxes all over Tarrant and surrounding counties.  Soldiers put collection boxes in businesses, restaurants, churches, schools, libraries, and many other places.

With the abundance of toys this year, Medical Center and Children’s Hospital will use the toys as holiday and birthday gifts for patients throughout the coming year.

The Texas State Guard annual "Heroes of the Guard" toy drive exemplifies the community service mission of the Texas State Guard.

Houston Area Texas State Guardsmen Deliver Holiday Cheer to Children

Story by:  Capt. Shawn James, 447th Air Support Group 5th Air Wing, PAO and Warrant Officer Malana Nall, 8th Regiment, PAO

Posted:  December 24, 2015

Delivering toys
Texas State Guard 8th Regiment, Army Component Command, soldiers Sgt. Sasha Shepard and Staff Sgt. Anna Reyes presented Patrick with new toy trucks while he recovers in Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, Texas, December 21, 2015.  Texas State Guard soldiers from Houston area units collected 3,658 toys for hundreds of children.  This annual toy drive is a community service event provided by the Texas State Guard across the state to bring joy to children who will spend the holidays in the hospital.  (Photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall, 8th Regiment, TXSG, PAO/Released)

HOUSTON - Santa got a lot of  help from the Texas State Guard Army Component Command 8th Regiment, 5th Air Wing 447th Air Support Group, and the Texas Maritime Regiment 1st Battalion by delivering Christmas toys to children aged 2 months to 16 years old in Houston area hospitals, December 21, 2015.

Delivering toys
Texas State Guard soldiers, Sgt. Sasha Shepard, Staff Sgt. Anna Reyes, Sgt. Greg Illich, 8th Regiment Army Component Command, Tech. Sgt. Rhueben Towne, 447th Air Support Group, 4th Air Wing, Pvt. Dwayne Holt, 8th Regiment, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Horowitz,  1st Battalion, Texas Maritime Regiment, delivered Christmas toys to Everett at a Houston area children's hospital, who was also celebrating her birthday, December 21, 2015.  Texas State Guard soldiers from Houston area units collected 3,658 toys for hundreds of children.  This annual toy drive is a community service event provided by the Texas State Guard across the state to bring joy to children who will spend the holidays in the hospital.  (Photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall, 8th Regiment, TXSG, PAO/Released)

In total, the Houston area Guardsmen collected 3,658 toys for the "Young Heroes of the Guard Toy Drive" and delivered the toys to children at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Texas Children's Hospital and Shriner's Hospital for Children-Houston.

Tech. Sgt. Rhueben Towne, 447th Air Support Group, coordinated the toy drive and worked with local hospitals and Houston area Texas State Guard units to set up collection points all over the city.

Towne's wife, Charlotte, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Horowitz, Texas Maritime Regiment 1st Battalion,  and Pvt. Dwayne Holt, 8th Regiment, collected almost 700 toys by themselves.  Houston schools and businesses and the residents of Houston donated hundreds of toys.  

Sugar Land Fire Station No. 6, Sugar Land, Texas, kindly allowed the Guardsmen to sort the toys by age groups in the fire station.

At the first hospital the soldiers, acting as Santa's elves, went room to room and into the emergency room at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital delivering toys and visiting with children and their families. They left toys in the children's play area, leaving enough toys to last until next year.  

The soldiers not only delivered toys but also sang Happy Birthday to one patient who was celebrating his seventh birthday.  

delivering toys
Cpl. Justin Stanton, 8th Regiment, Army Component Command, Texas State Guard, delivers a new toy truck to two-year-old Mason during the "Young Heroes of the Guard Toy Drive" at a Houston area children's hospital, December 21, 2015.  Mason was the first child in the hospital to receive a toy this year.  Texas State Guard soldiers from Houston area units collected 3,658 toys for hundreds of children.  This annual toy drive is a community service event provided by the Texas State Guard across the state to bring joy to children who will spend the holidays in the hospital.  (Photo by Warrant Officer Malana Nall, 8th Regiment, TXSG, PAO/Released)

"It was a great experience to see all three Texas State Guard units come together and bring joy to the faces of the children," commented Tech. Sgt. Towne.  "We will take as much time as necessary from toy pickups to delivering toys to make the holiday a special time for the children."

At Shriners Children’s Hospital, soldiers delivered 1,200 toys so that the hospital staff could set up its version of Christmas shopping for the families of patients. Parents will be able to look for just the right gifts for their children.  Then the hospital staff will wrap each toy and Santa will deliver the toys on Christmas morning.  

"It means a lot to our patients," commented Elizabeth Ferrer, a representative of Shriners Children's Hospital.  "The greater meaning is that the kids know someone outside the hospital is thinking of them."

At Texas Children's Hospital, soldiers delivered hundreds of toys that the hospital staff and Santa will hand out to the children at a party Christmas Day.

loading toys
Texas State Guard soldiers from Houston area units collected 3,658 toys during the "Young Heroes of the Guard Toy Drive." Soldiers from the 8th Regiment, 1st Lt. Skip Matthews, Staff Sgt. Anna Reyes, Cpl. Justin Stanton and Sgt. Sasha Shepard, loaded the toys into the delivery truck bound for three Houston area children's hospitals, December 21, 2015.  This annual toy drive is a community service event provided by the Texas State Guard across the state to bring joy to children who will spend the holidays in the hospital.  (Photo by: Capt. Shawn James, 447th Air Support Group, 4th Air Wing, TXSG,  PAO/Released)

With all the toys finally delivered, Chaplain Douglas Richardson (Lt. Cmdr.), Texas Maritime Regiment, felt humbled by the experience.  "As chaplain, it is a privilege to share the real meaning of giving and the spirit of soldiers of the Texas State Guard."   

Texas State Guard Kicks off Young Heroes of the Guard Toy Drive

Story by: Capt. Esperanza Meza, PAO – 19th Regt.
Posted: 20-DEC-2014

A few days before Christmas, members of the Texas State Guard deliver donated toys to various children's hospitals in their local areas to bring broad smiles to kids and teens. With a goal to raise 10,000 toys this year the TXSG Chaplains group, with the guidance of TXSG Chaplain (Col.) Douglas Sewell, kicked off the Young Heroes of the Guard Christmas Toy Drive. The intent is to far-surpass last year's donations of 6,644 toys and leave a year's worth of toys behind at every hospital they visit.

In 2009, two Chaplains were initiated a challenge by a TXSG officer creating the Young Heroes of the Guard after a news report aired. The officer saw a report of children suffering in hospitals; families hurting emotionally and struggling financially, with all of them feeling forgotten during the holidays. That first year they focused their attention mainly on collecting toys for Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. There is perhaps little which is more painful to a child than to be in the hospital during the holidays rather than at home. In the following years, the vision was expanded to include five hospitals statewide; the goal, to include 15-18 more hospitals this year.

Many touching stories have arisen over the years since this effort began. One story, noted by Chaplain (Capt.) David Fish, 4th Regiment, Fort Worth, came from Cpl. Vic Segura, who visited a cancer floor. The report stated, "One kid in particular made all of us in our group break down. We found out later that she loved art. A gift given to her took her to another place, a better place than a hospital and her current condition. Things given to her helped her create art… creating happiness. Immediately she cried when she got her gift. Anyone with a heart would have cried too upon seeing that. Art she created was shown… amazing. Without that gift somebody gave to our cause, we were told that she would have never been able to have it because her family cannot afford items like that."

Such stories and experiences as these have provided abundant motivation as TXSG units across the state this year started early collecting toys by encouraging businesses, schools, churches and organizations to join the effort. Operation Matthew 25, a grassroots organization promoting humanitarian needs, initiated a partnership challenging its members to raise 1000 toys by sending their gifts through Amazon.com.

To raise more toys, led by Chaplain Sewell and Staff Sgt. John Gately, the 1st Annual Texas State Guard - Veterans Day Celebration & Toy Drive was held in Frisco, Texas. The message, "Do your duty, take care of your people and get those 10,000 toys," was exclaimed by keynote speaker, Maj. Gen. Jake Betty, Commanding General of the TXSG. Representative Dan Flynn, Texas House Representative, District 2, and Colonel in the Army Component Command of the TXSG, also attended.

Gately, TXSG Headquarters J-6, has been instrumental in coordinating with donation providers and in creating the current TXSG toy drive website, www.txsgtoydrive.org. Starting at 19th Regiment in 2010 and then transferring to HQ in Austin, Gately directed his toy drive efforts benefiting Dell Children's Medical Center. "I remember Loxy Passmore, a Child Life assistant. As she was telling me that some toys would be in the hospital's play rooms and given as gifts to young patients, she was looking over the mounds of stuffed bears. She was clearly looking for - or hoping to see - something in particular," said Gately. "We have one little boy here, right now who just loves panda bears. I hope there's a panda in there somewhere,” he recalls her stating. “Moments later, a stuffed panda emerged from the pile. Passmore's eyes lit up. ‘This will mean so much.. All of this,’" stated Gately.

With a personal goal to raise 3,000 toys, Gately fanned out to local businesses setting up donation boxes, partnering with a golf event in Denton and getting a donation from the TXSG non-profit organization for teddy bears. "When I was six years old, I broke my leg. When I got out of the hospital, my parents got me a stuffed teddy bear," said Gately. "I remember how happy it made me. Now I want to help bring the same joy to other children."

Several TXSG soldiers are leading the drive to collect 1000 or more toys on their own like Sgt. James Williams, 2nd Regiment, in Austin, who has collected over 600 toys. Also, Staff Sgt. Rhueben Towne, who serves dual roles with the 447th Air Support Group at Ellington Field JRB in Houston and with 5th Air Wing TXSG as an A6 NCOIC has also raised 730 toys. Additionally, Towne has won the participation of a professional basketball team - the Houston Rockets - with a portion of their ticket proceeds pledged to go towards Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital. Towne is also coordinating with other TXSG components like the Galveston Medical Response Group, for Shriners. "Giving a toy to a child who is not expecting it, during their time in the hospital," said Towne, "is seeing a little joyfulness. It's worth their time (along with his wife) in purchasing and collecting toys."

Soldiers from the 19th Regiment delivered toys

Group Photo with two large containers full of toysSoldiers from 19th Regiment delivered toys raised during ‘Young Heroes of the Guard’ toy drive this past weekend to two children’s hospitals, Medical City Children’s and Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. Genesis shelter was also provided toys for children from homes of domestic abuse. TXSG troops were able to deliver some toys and a smile to others during their visit. The toy drive was headed by Chaplain Vick and 2LT Adam Mosser.

Rhueben Towne of the Texas State Guards 5th Air Wing

Group Photo with a large amount of toys in boxes“We just wanted to make Christmas a little brighter for the children who have to be in the hospital” said Staff Sargent Rhueben Towne of the Texas State Guards 5th Air Wing. Several other cities throughout Texas have done the toy drive for the Young Heroes of the Guard in the past few years and we thought it was time to add Houston. We put out boxes around the city and Houstonians donated as they usually do. We chose Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital as the recipient. The hospital provides toys at Christmas, birthdays, after difficult procedures and several other parties, so they have a year round need. Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital also has several playrooms which are stocked with games and toys.

Thursday December 19th members of the 5th Air wing and the Houston MRG delivered over 730 toys to the hospital. They were greeted by Richard Weir the Director, Facility Operations of Child Life Department. Staff members also said it was the largest single donation Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital has received to date. The TX State Guard toy program has expanded statewide and has brought comfort to the smallest Texans at this important time of year.

The 4th Air Wing of the Texas State Guard made a visit to the hospital to hand out donated toys

ABILENE, Texas -
Christmas came early for several sick kids at Hendrick Children's Hospital Thursday.

"Unfortunately we’re in the hospital so it doesn't quite feel like home," said Olivia Brigham whose daughter is at Hendrick Children’s Hospital.

The 4th Air Wing of the Texas State Guard made a visit to the hospital to hand out donated gifts.

The event is called "Young Heroes of the Guard" and this is the first year Hendrick Children's Hospital has been included in it.

"It was surprising, I didn't know. It was very exciting. We went in there and there were so many friendly faces and presents and our daughter was just so elated and so excited to pick out her presents," said Brigham.

"It's a pleasure just to watch these kids come in and they're just having a good time and that's just a good feeling," said First Lt. Don Howe of the 4th Air Wing.

The goal is to leave a year's worth of toys behind at every hospital they visit. Where do the toys come from?

"The toys came from all the men and women of the different Air Support Groups and the 4th Air Wing and they bought these and they donated them," said Howe.

This year the 4th Air Wing visited more than 900 hospital beds around Texas with one goal in mind.

"For them to have a Merry Christmas," Howe said.

"It makes it feel a little bit more like home," said Brigham.

To donate toys to the Young Heroes of the Guard mail them to 2200 W. 35th Street, Building 32, Austin, TX 78763

WATCH THE VIDEO

Texas State Guard HQ delivered 1,500 toys

Group Photo of TXSG Personnel and Hospital staffA few days before Christmas, members of the Texas State Guard HQ delivered 1,500 toys to Dell Children's Hospital in Austin. This was the third year that the group collected for this hospital and it was the largest delivery so far. SGT John Gately of the J6 section headed up the drive supported by COL Joe Jelinski, TXSG CSM Bell and MSG Lightfoot.

SGT Gately has been collecting toys for this drive for the last 4 years. He started with the 19th Regiment and their toy drive at Dallas Children's hospital and when he transferred to HQ, he continued the work to benefit a hospital in Austin. During the last 4 toy drives, SGT Gately has collected almost 4,000 toys. When asked why he is so passionate about this effort he stated; " when I was 6 years old, I broke my leg. When he got out of the hospital, his parents had gotten him a stuffed teddy bear, and he remembers how happy it made him. Now he wants to help bring the same joy to other children."

This year he had a special helper. His son PFC Jacob Gately helped him with the toy collection and he's hoping the "addiction" catches on for him, too.

4th Regiment holds Young Heroes of the Guard Toy Drive

Story by: CW2 Janet Schmelzer, PAO, 4th Regiment
 
Posted: 10-DEC-13

Toy Drive PosterFORT WORTH, TX--The 4th Regiment is holding its fifth Young Heroes of the Texas State Guard Toy Drive on December 14 to patients at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth.
 
The Texas State Guard is honored to provide community service support for this toy drive.  This event is another way to give back to the community and live up to our motto "Texans Serving Texans."  This is one of the most rewarding community service events for the TXSG because we are helping children and  parents at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth to have a brighter and happier holiday season.
 
Collection boxes have been placed around the DFW metroplex and the good people of DFW have donated the toys. 

Addicted to Giving

Addicted To Giving
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, TXSG
2012/12/10

(L to R) MAJ Christopher Sauceda, SGT Johnny Gately, and SrA Rheuben Towne present some 1,300 toys to the Dell Children’s Hospital on behalf of the soliders of the TXSG.
(L to R) MAJ Christopher Sauceda, SGT Johnny Gately, and SrA Rheuben Towne present some 1,300 toys to the Dell Children’s Hospital on behalf of the soldiers of the TXSG.

As addictions go, Johnny Gately has a good one: organizing Christmas toy drives.

“The more toys I get, the more toys I want,” said Gately, a sergeant assigned to the Texas State Guard headquarters in Austin. “It’s an addiction, I admit it.”

On Sunday morning, Gately delivered more than 1,300 toys - stuffed animals, board games, videos and more - to Dell Children’s Hospital on behalf of the soldiers of the TXSG.

The toys came from a variety of sources: employees at Securus Technologies, cash donations through the Texas State Guard Association from the Frisco-based Roughriders minor league baseball team, and Gately’s own business, the Drop N Aces poker league.

The toys were delivered unwrapped to Dell Children’s, giving the hospital’s staff greater latitude in how to use and distribute them now and in the months ahead.

Loxy Passmore, a Child Life assistant, said some toys will be used in the hospital’s play rooms, but many more will be given as gifts to the young patients.

Looking over the mounds of stuffed bears, she was clearly looking for - or hoping to see - something in particular.

“We have one little boy here right now who just loves panda bears. I hope there’s a panda in there somewhere.” Moments later, a stuffed panda emerged from the pile. Passmore’s eyes lit up. “This will mean so much,” she said. “All of this.”

Gately was pleased to see the number of toys collected nearly double from last year. In 2011, the TXSG delivered 755 pieces to the hospital. This year’s 1,334 sets an impressive goal for Gately to reach in ’13.

The drive started in earnest in October, but planning begins much sooner. In fact, Gately has already started thinking about next year. Employees at Securus Technologies - a Metroplex-based business - have already volunteered to participate in 2013.

SGT Gately said one selling point for both individuals and business contributors was that the toys were “staying in Texas, for Texas kids.”

Toy Drive Brings Christmas To Children's Hospital

Toy Drive Brings Christmas To Children's Hospital 
CPL Jason Marshburn
2010/01/30
On Saturday, 12 December 2009 Texas State Guard troops from multiple units and commands arrived at area children's hospitals to distribute toys for the first "Young Hero's Of The Guard" toy drive.

Conceived by COL Gerald Lemons, commander of the 4th Civil Affairs Regiment, the drive benefited sick and injured children enduring long term hospitalizations over the Christmas season. Over 2,000 toys were collected from over 40 locations around north Texas! The toys were then distributed to the Dallas-Fort Worth area children's hospitals: Cook Children's Hospital (Fort Worth), Texas Scottish Rite Hospital (Dallas), and Our Children's House at Baylor (Dallas).

"Our original goal was to collect 500 toys." said LTC Jerald Garner, Chaplain of the 4th Civil Affairs Regiment. Troops from the 4th Regiment distributed 336 toys at Cook's and left another 140.

Later that afternoon, at Ridgemar shopping center, Chaplain (1LT) David Fish, 2nd BN Chaplain, very ceremoniously gave 250 toys to the United States Marine Corps Reserve "Toys for Tots" program. On Wednesday, December 16th, 250 toys were given to the Grand Prairie Police Department, with 2LT Rob Davis and CPL Jon David Wells representing the 4th Regiment.

The 19th Civil Affairs Regiment handed out toys at Our Children's House at Baylor and the 4th Air Wing handed out toys at Shriner's Children's Hospital.

4th Regiment troops deliver Christmas cheer to the children at Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.Photo by PV2 Byron Sims
4th Regiment troops deliver Christmas cheer to the children at Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.
Photo by PV2 Byron Sims

4th Regiment troops deliver Christmas cheer to the children at Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.Photo by PV2 Byron Sims