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thedrifter
12-25-08, 06:54 AM
Marines' thanks for job well done

By Stuart Duncan (Contact)
Thursday, December 25, 2008

CORPUS CHRISTI — The Marines called. The Coastal Bend answered with more than 42,000 toys in 10 days.

On Dec. 11, the Marine Corps Reserve's Toys for Tots drive had a nearly empty warehouse. Organizers were preparing to scale back to one toy per child because they had only 7,876 toys, not even enough to fill Catholic Charities' request for 9,150 toys.

But when the drive ended Monday, it had exceeded its goal of 50,000 toys.

"I was very surprised because it looked like we weren't going to make it and then all of a sudden -- toys were coming in from everywhere," Staff Sgt. Nikitas Evaggelou said. "It's great and everybody is happy. I will be able to sleep better at night now."

The Marine Corps Reserve usually only collects, leaving the distribution to other local agencies, but this year Evaggelou got to see the joy the toys bring, while attending a Catholic Charities function late Monday.

"Families that received toys came up to us and thanked us -- it was a sight to see," Evaggelou said.

The Marine Corps Reserve had enough additional toys Tuesday to help victims of five house fires that happened in a two-day span in the Coastal Bend during the weekend, Evaggelou said.

"This is what it is all about," Evaggelou said. "We want to personally thank the volunteers and the community for helping it all come together."

Contact Stuart Duncan at 886-3792 or duncans@caller.com

Ellie