Photo by Jennie McGhan
Richard Zook and John Travis Sr. prepare to unload boxes of toys collected from the Grandview Dollar Tree as part of Operation Homefront last Wednesday.
As of Thursday, December 13, 2018
GRANDVIEW Unloading the latest contribution from community members who visited the Grandview and Sunnyside Dollar Tree stores, Fred E. Hayes Post 57 of the American Legion Adjutant James Davidson wore a smile.
Richard Zook, who served in Vietnam, and John Travis Sr., who is a Korean War veteran, assisted with the collection of last week’s toys.
The two Marines were pleased to see children belonging to those assigned to the Army National Guard 792nd Chemical Company, which includes troops from throughout the Yakima Valley, will have plenty under the Christmas tree.
“People have been very generous,” Zook said.
“It’s good to see so many toys,” Travis said.
The coordinated effort between the Dollar Tree stores and the Post is part of Operation Homefront.
At check-out customers at the stores are asked if they want to buy a toy for a military child, Davidson said.
Last year more than $3,600 worth of toys were collected. It appears as though this year’s donations will exceed that number as more than $3,500 worth were collected through last Wednesday.
In Grandview, patrons of the stores donated 2,349 as of Dec. 5.
Sunnyside patrons donated 1,165.
“We will make our last pick up the week of the 18th since the Armory will be closed. We hope to beat last year’s donations of $3,696,” Davidson said, noting the employees at the stores also will box the donations.
Not all the toys will be needed for distribution to the families of the men and women serving in the 792nd Chemical Company.
Some will be delivered to the Grandview Police and Fire departments, as well as the local Washington State Patrol detachment. Officers, firefighters and troopers can carry them with them when responding to calls. They can give them to the children they come in contact with, Davidson said.
“We really do a lot for a small post,” he said. “But it is about giving back to the community.”