Story by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Janet Schmelzer, TXSG
Posted: December 28, 2015
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.