RRAD, Toys for Tots campaign underway
October 27, 2011
Several members of Red River Army Depot joined RRAD Commander Col. Doyle Lassitter Oct. 18 for the official kickoff ceremony of the annual Toys for Toys campaign.
This year the depot is dedicating the campaign to the memory of Ryan Johns who worked in the Heavy and Medium Tactical Division of the Directorate for Maintenance.
Johns, who passed away Sept. 25, spent his life helping others. His mother, Freddie, who attended the kickoff ceremony, said she believes that her son's generosity started as a child as he watched his family give to others.
"I think as he grew, Ryan watched me give to kids and to the community," said Freddie Johns. "I believe that is why he loved giving back to children."
In 2007 Johns donated $1,000 to the Toys for Tots campaign. When asked why he gave so generously he stated he grew up where there was always something under the tree on Christmas morning and wanted to see that same thing for children in need.
"If there is anything we can do to make Christmas bright for area kids, then we will see to it getting done," said Johns during an interview in 2007.
Other members of Johns' family were in attendance for the ceremony.
Over 20,000 have been donated by the defense complex since RRAD begin participating over 20 years ago.
Toys for Tots begin in 1947 when Maj. Bill Hendricks and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children.
From 1991 to 2008, the foundation supplemented local toy collections with 81.3 million toys valued at $487 million. Concurrently, the foundation provided over $6.3 million worth of promotion and support materials, which enable local Toys for Tots coordinators to conduct more effective local campaigns, according to the foundation's website.