FORT HOOD, Texas-While Santa Clause is up at the North Pole packing his sleigh and the elves are preparing the reindeer for this year's Christmas voyage another merry team from a warmer part of the world is gearing up to take a similar trek through Central Texas; only smaller and without Rudolph leading the way.

Several county officials and residents made multiple trips from Centerville, Texas to Fort Hood, Texas delivering more than 500 toys to the 41st Fires Brigade, Dec. 16-21. The city officials and volunteers throughout Leon County collected toys for within the 41st Fires Bde., the county's adopted unit.

"We put the word out and started collecting toys throughout the whole county around Dec. 8," said Dean Player, a county commissioner for Leon County. "I know what it's like being a young E-1 or E-2. When the holidays rolled around, there just wasn't a whole lot there. If you can put a smile on somebody's face doing this sort of thing then its well worth it. The reward comes from touching people's lives.

The residents of Leon County have donated toys two years in a row building a stronger community relation with the Rail Gunners and helping family wishes come true.

"I don't think Leon County knows how much they help the Soldiers out in this brigade," said Staff Sgt. Joanquin Mullins, from Chicago. "There are many Soldiers out there who are not financially stable around this time of the year. This helps them in various ways because Christmas can be an extra financial burden.

The toy drives and donations brought in items like bikes for various ages, remote control cars, sporting equipment, dolls and even several pairs of shoes.

"The Soldiers and Family members of the 41st Fires Bde. are special to us," said Player. "We enjoy having the opportunity of being a part of any occasion that can make the kids smile.
It's nice to know that we can take a little bit of the burden off the Soldiers during this holiday season.

The toys collected were evenly distributed to the units within the brigade. The children and family members will have a chance to receive a toy during each unit's Christmas party.

Through the kindness and generosity of Leon County some of the stockings hanging off household mantles are a little fuller and the space under a few Christmas trees is a little merrier.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16