Quartermaster School riggers donate toys to local community
December 15, 2011
FORT PICKETT, Va. (Dec. 15, 2011) -- Operation Toy Drop now has a Quartermaster School version.
The popular Fort Bragg, N.C., event in which members of the paratrooper community conduct airborne operations to collect toys for underprivileged children during the holiday season has spawned a version undertaken by the Quartermaster School 's Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department.
Sgt. Maj. Tonika Scott-Morris, ADFSD sergeant major, said the Dec. 8 event took shape when she mulled Fort Bragg's call for jumpers to support this year's event.
"I thought why go down there when we have everything we need here?" she said. "There are children here who we could support as well."
The "everything" to which Scott-Morris referred is the airfield, aircraft, jumpmasters and paratroopers required to conduct airborne operations. ADFSD trains military personnel in parachute rigging and airdrop and sling load operations. All airborne operations take place here.
As for the children, Scott-Morris said the town of Blackstone adjacent to the Nottoway County installation was a good place to start because cadre often visit merchants there when there is a lull in operations.
With everything in place, ADFSD personnel gathered at Blackstone Army Airfield on a sunny and unseasonable warm day. Light winds whipped across the tarmac and temperatures seemed to range between 40-50 degrees. They began the operation with several jumps from a Chinook helicopter. Later, the same aircraft picked up a load of toys, flew it around the drop zone and returned to the same spot.
Jan S. Barnes, Blackstone Chamber of Commerce executive director, stood on the tarmac to receive the donated gifts- an assortment of dolls, toy trucks and action figures - enough to provide 15 children with two gifts apiece. She said the event was an eye-opener.
"It was amazing the way the helicopter came in and they hooked it up," she said. "I've never seen anything like it, and I've lived in Blackstone all of my life."
Scott-Morris said the event shows that Soldiers have an interest in the well-being of the community and its presence within it.
"It shows that we care about children," she said, "and we want to make sure we are seen in a positive light."
Barnes said the event would go a long way toward enhancing community relations.
"I think it's wonderful that they would go through the trouble to do this and take time out for somebody else," she said. "The way the economy is, I know it's going to help some people who maybe wouldn't have such a nice Christmas, but now they will."
Scott-Morris said much of the cadre has already talked about doing it again next year.
"They're already excited about it and ready to go," she said.