MDDF Supports U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Campaign
By CPT (MDDF) Stephen Rice
Maryland Defense Force Public Affairs
26 December 2013
Starting in September of 2012, members of the Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) Alpha Company worked with other organizations and military units to collect toys for needy children in Washington County, Maryland. The U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign is typically spearheaded by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve but Washington County does not host any active or reserve U.S. Marine Corps units. Working with military and civilian partners, the MDDF helped to fill the void and ensure that hundreds of needy children received toys for Christmas.
MDDF Warrant Officer James Mills served as the project officer for the MDDF and coordinated efforts with the Antietam Marine Corps League, the Maryland National Guard (MDNG), the Salvation Army and civilian volunteers. More than 500 toys were collected at the MDNG Armory in Hagerstown, Maryland by the MDDF’s Alpha Company, the MDNG 581st Troop command, the MDNG Troop C 158th Cavalry, the MDNG 29th MP Company and MDNG Family Support personnel. The toys were combined with collections from other sites and brought to a temporary Antietam Marine Corps League “distribution center” at the Long Meadow Shopping Center in Hagerstown in mid-December. More than 10,000 toys were collected and brought to the distribution center with the help of Alpha Company.
The Salvation Army Toy Shop combined the toys with boxes of food and turkeys that were distributed between December 20th and December 22nd to the needy families. Retired Marines and sailors personally delivered toys to families that were unable to come to the distribution center. In total, more than 1100 families were served which included more than 2600 kids. Every child received at least nine toys.
Warrant Officer (MDDF) James Mills remarked, “I am so happy that we were able to bring some joy to thousands of Maryland kids this holiday season.” Maj. (MDDF) Donald Cutsail who also participated commented, “I was really proud of what we were able to accomplish and I think we can have an even bigger impact next year.” Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Brian R. Kelm, the MDDF commander concluded, “The Maryland Defense Force through acts large and small is proactively supporting communities throughout this great state. I am so proud that Alpha Company saw a local need and stepped-up to the plate.”
The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) is the State’s uniformed volunteer military unit providing professional and technical assistance to the Maryland Military Department. Established in 1917, the MDDF consists of nearly 450 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland. For more information: www.mddf.maryland.gov