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A stuffed bear sits on the wing of an aircraft that was flown by volunteers from the Redlands Airport Association to deliver toys to Twentynine Palms Airport as part of the 2nd annual Toys for Tots Fly-in, Dec. 10, 2016. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Levi Schultz/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Levi Schultz

Marines, Redlands Airport Association team up for Toys for Tots

19 Dec 2016 | Cpl. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Marines from 4th Tank Battalion partnered with the Redlands Airport Association to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate children during the 2nd annual Toys for Tots Fly-in, Dec. 10, 2016.

Association pilots loaded more than 25 small aircraft with toys that ranged from stuffed animals to bicycles and began their approximately 70-mile flight to the Twentynine Palms Airport.

Our whole goal was to fill a bunch of airplanes with toys and bring it to the Marines to donate to the Toys for Tots program,” said Ted Gablin, president, Redlands Airport Association. “In addition to the toys, we collected $1,000 in donations. We love what the Marines do with Toys for Tots and we want to support it.”

At the Twentynine Palms Airport, the pilots met the local Toys for Tots coordinator, Staff Sgt. Jason Slye, company master gunner, 4th Tank Battalion. Slye collected the toys to be distributed to less fortunate families in the area.

“Toys for Tots is important because it’s a direct connection to our community,” Slye said. “Last year, we actually collected more than 50,000 toys and distributed to more than 26,000 families in the area. Each year the program has grown, so this year we are looking to outdo ourselves from last year.”

Since its inception in1947, Toys for Tots has grown into a successful nationwide community action project allowing Marines to give back to communities by helping less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas.

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