Story by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Janet Schmelzer, Texas State Guard
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas State Guard kicked off its ninth annual “Young Heroes of the Guard” Christmas Toy Drive on November, 20, 2017. The toy drive delivers toys to thousands of children at pediatric hospitals, women’s shelters and foster homes across Texas.
“Just a few months ago, the Texas State Guard was fully engaged in helping our fellow Texans recover and rebuild during Hurricane Harvey. Now, we are working to bring joy and happiness to children in need this holiday season, many of whom have a long road toward rebuilding their lives,” state Sgt. 1st Class John Gately, Texas State Guard toy drive coordinator.
Since the toy drive began in 2009, State Guardsmen have distributed more than 100,000 toys, donated by individuals and organizations alike. Last year alone, the Texas State Guard distributed more than 33,000 toys and expects to distribute even more toys this year. Over the past nine years the toy drive has grown from serving pediatric hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to serving children in need across the state.
“The Texas State Guard wants every child who cannot be at home this year to have a joyous holiday season. The toy drive brings comfort to thousands of Texas children, and our State Guardsmen have as much fun giving out the toys as the children do receiving them,” said Sgt. Lynda Briggs, 4th Regiment, Texas State Guard. “When we deliver the toys, kids see us in our Santa hats and greet us with pure joy, even though many face unthinkable circumstances no child should endure. The toy drive is the most rewarding and heartwarming activity of the Texas State Guard, and it is just another example of how we serve the people of Texas,” stated Sgt. Derrick Williams, 19th Regiment, Texas State Guard.
For more information on the Texas State Guard “Young Heroes of the Guard” Toy Drive, visit the toy drive website at http://www.txsgtoydrive.com.