By Jim Dresbach, Pentagram Staff WriterNovember 28, 2012
Holiday toy collections for needy military children will get a major supply boost thanks to three Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation events.
In a co-effort with Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Army Community Services, the Operation Santa Toy Drive will collect unwrapped toys at a trifecta of JBM-HH fitness and athletic happenings. Unwrapped toys will be collected from participants at the Dec. 7's 5K Reindeer Stampede and the Senior Fitness Challenge. Later in the evening, the Operation Santa men's and women's basketball tournament will begin at the Fort Myer and Fort McNair fitness centers.
"We do this in conjunction with the ACS toy drive, so every individual [tournament] player on the teams is to bring one unwrapped, new gift," said MWR's Brandie DeRemer. "Spectators are encouraged to do the same but they are not required to do it."
Generosity does seem to win out at the tournament. Last year, 10 bags of toys were collected for the Operation Santa initiative.
"Some bring more than one toy. Teams are authorized to bring 14 toys. Some [players] bring two or three. One guy brought seven," MWR sports specialist Michael Cary remembered.
As of Nov. 16, 10 teams -- six men's and four women's squads -- are registered to play in the military only tournament. Basketball squads from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Camp Lejeune, U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, Walter Reed Naval Military Medical Center-Bethesda, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Lee and Fort Belvoir will join the Fort Myer men's team in the tourney which begins the evening of Dec. 7 and concludes with the championship games Sunday afternoon, Dec. 9.
In addition to the tournament, toys will also be collected on a busy Dec. 7 morning when the Senior Fitness Challenge, a multi-stage fitness assessment for seniors, is held at the fitness center. Earlier in the morning outside the Fort Myer fitness center, the 5K Reindeer Stampede kicks off at 6:35 a.m. Registration takes place from 5:15 to 6:15 a.m. All taking part are asked to donate an unwrapped, new toy.
For more information about the JBM-HH MWR events, phone 703-696-7868.