The veteran Marines of the Grand Strand Detachment of the Marine Corps League wish to extend a warm thank you to the citizens of Horry County for their contributions to the Toys for Tots Foundation during the past Christmas season. Despite the poor economy affecting the Grand Strand, the generosity of the citizens from the many communities located in Horry County was overwhelming and generous. Collection boxes located in various locations throughout Horry County were overflowing with a selection of toys, dolls, books, games, sports equipment, and stuffed animals. In addition, generous cash contributions were also donated.
Although the veteran Marines collected toys at various locations throughout Horry County, a distribution system to the disadvantaged children was a key requirement of the program. Barbara Mains, Director of Help4Kids, and her dedicated volunteers very efficiently performed that important task.
In addition, the veteran Marines of the Grand Strand Detachment wish to thank two Myrtle Beach organizations for generously donating sleeping bags and heavy-duty blankets to unfortunate children who are homeless or reside in a residence where they must sleep on the floor. The two organizations, The Grand Strand Optimist Club and the Greater Myrtle Beach Chapter of the Penn State University Alumni Association generously donated well over 100 blankets and sleeping bags to Help4Kids, who then distributed the warm sleeping items to the aforementioned children.
Planning and directing the collection and distribution of toys that is the heart of the annual Toys for Tots Foundation does not occur in a vacuum. Only a veteran Marine has the leadership and organizational skills to perform this important function. One veteran Marine who acquired these skills is John Kovalcik, a member of the Grand Strand Detachment.
During the last 14 years, John very competently led his fellow veteran Marines during the Toys for Tots collection periods. John is stepping down this year from his Toys for Tots coordinating duties. Throughout the past 14 Christmas seasons, John spent numerous hours on his own personal time during the Toys for Tots season in which his objective was to ensure that as many disadvantaged children as possible received gifts on Christmas morning. Keenan Walsh, a member of the Grand Strand Detachment, will step into John’s shoes with the same set of coordinating skills, enthusiasm and dedication to lead the veteran Marines starting in the upcoming 2013 Toys for Tots Foundation Drive and into the future.
The veteran Marines from the Grand Strand Detachment of the Marine Corps League wishes everyone a healthy and happy New Year.
The writer lives in Pawleys Island.