A 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.