Addicted To Giving
MAJ Michael Quinn Sullivan, PAO, 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.”