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thedrifter
01-21-09, 08:42 AM
County gives back to Marines’ Toys for Tots
Marine Corps League saluted as chamber’s organization of year
By ROBERT HORNE
editor@cherokeescout.com
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 8:05 PM CST

Peachtree – Members of Cherokee Detachment 1011 of the U.S. Marine Corps League are known for answering the call of duty.

When the Marines began their annual Toys for Tots drive in September, they also enlisted the help of community volunteers and local businesses to help children in less-fortunate families have gifts to open on Dec, 25. Because of their dedication, more than 1,500 children had a merry Christmas.

For all of their hard work in the community, the local chapter of the Marine Corps League was honored by the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce as the Civic Club or Organization of the Year during the fourth annual chamber banquet and awards night Thursday at Millrace Farm.

“This is so unexpected,” said John Evans, coordinator of the Murphy area Toys for Tots campaign. “This is a great honor. What an outstanding community we have. Since 1947, the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program has met its goal every year except 2008.

“It was outstanding that we did so well in our community. More than 1,500 children were given three toys each, and more than 800 got a wish toy. It was just a miracle.”

Evans said children who didn’t get their wish toy were those helped at the “12th hour. We didn’t have time to get their wish toys.”

Although disappointed that not every child got a wish toy, Evans was impressed with how well they did do – especially considering they decided to do the wish toy in September.

“When we were first talking about it, we thought it could be a mistake because we might get asked for a pony or a trip to Disney World,” Evans said. “Instead the exact opposite happened. Out of those 800-plus children, only 45 bikes were wish toys.

“It was kind of cute because the wish toys that ended up being asked for were a fishing pole or a football, and all the younger girls wanted anything Hannah Montana and the older girls wanted make-up.”

Evans said Marine Corps League members picked up a lot of knowledge about the younger generation just by being a part of Toys for Tots.

The League’s Web site also recounts the Marines asking each other, “Would a 6-year-old girl like this?” Presenter David Brown, publisher of the Cherokee Scout, related this story to laughter in the audience.

“When we started, my toy quotient efficiency was 0,” Evans said. “The learning curve was drastic, but things we didn’t know the names of three months ago we are very familiar with now.”

Ellie