By Amy PerryDecember 8, 2016
FORT LEE, Va. (Dec. 8, 2016) -- About 25 Soldiers from Fort Lee's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program participated in a veterans' group charity attempt to break a world record Nov. 29.
The U.S. Veterans Corps in Morrisville, N.C., coordinates a toy drop each year for its program, "Toys for the Lil' Troops," which collects items for children of military families. This year, however, they wanted to go bigger. The organization also had assistance from Lenovo, a computer manufacturing company also in Morrisville.
In an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most toys donated in 24 hours, the organization had to break 45,557 pounds, set by beverage maker Tang in 2013.
The group reached out to Fort Lee's Holiday Helper Association for a donation of 1,000 pounds of toys, which would be returned tenfold to help the Fort Lee community. The BOSS program sprung to help, said Matthew Haug, BOSS advisor.
"We started planning this months ago with HHA," he said. "We got the vehicles and personnel together to go to North Carolina to pick up the thousands of pounds of toys."
Haug said his Soldiers were very motivated to volunteer.
"They are very excited to be part of this," he said. "Just to do anything they can to help their fellow Soldiers and families for the holidays means a lot. They are very proud and happy to be doing this."
Sgt. Damien Broadnax, BOSS vice president, said the whole project was a great experience.
"Not only was it an event that helped out the Fort Lee community and its kids, it also was an opportunity to be part of something that broke a Guinness World Record," he said.
Before the Soldiers left with their donation, it was announced the organization did earn the new world record. The final tally was 52,076 pounds of toys. Susan Garling, the marketing and outreach manager for HHA, helped coordinate the collection of toys to donate to the organization.
"It's great they earned the world record," she said, "but it's a win-win situation for everyone involved, especially the children in our community."
The holiday season can be tough for many military families, and Fort Lee's BOSS president Sgt. Chance McCree said the installation's single Soldiers wanted to help.
"This project is something we wanted to do to help out the community," he said. "Most of them can't go home for the holidays or don't have a lot of family, so they were excited to be able to make other people's holidays brighter. They see it as a way to help out their fellow Soldiers."