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Marine Corps, KershawHealth’s Toys for Tots campaign a success

Posted: December 23, 2013 5:16 p.m.
Updated: December 24, 2013 5:00 a.m.
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From left, Marine Corps representative Ronald Stroud, Nico Gunn, Courtney Payne and April Wach all took part in KershawHealth’s Toys for Tots campaign. Gunn and Payne are students at North Central High School, which collected the most toys in the school challenge competition. Wach works at KershawHealth as a nurse manager for the emergency department.

Christmas morning will be happier for hundreds of children in Kershaw County thanks to the efforts of the Marine Corps Reserves’ "Toys for Tots" campaign, KershawHealth employees and a host of local partners. More than 900 toys destined for local children were collected during the "Stuff an Ambulance" drive on December 7. The toys will be distributed by volunteers from the Marine Corps Reserves. The goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate children that will help them become responsible, productive andpatriotic citizens.

"We’re very grateful to everyone at KershawHealth, the schools, and local businesses that made this event a success," Marine Corps representative Ronald Stroud said. "It means so much for these kids to wake up to a new toy on Christmas."

Of course, a little competition never hurts, so event organizers created a student challenge and a law enforcement challenge to make things more exciting. Students from North Central High School collected more than 200 toys, making them winners of the school challenge, and giving them toy bragging rights – at least until next year – over Camden and Lugoff-Elgin High Schools. In the law enforcement challenge, the Camden Police Department bested the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Department.

April Wach, nurse manager at KershawHealth’s emergency department and one of the event coordinators, noted Stuff an Ambulance would not have happened without lots of help.

"The students were awesome, and they had a great time collecting toys for the kids," Wach noted. "The Medical Explorers helped pack toys into the ambulance. We just got so much support from everyone this year." Even cold, drizzly weather on the day of the drive couldn’t dampen spirits. Visits from the Chick-fil-a cow, as well as Santa and Mrs. Claus (a.k.a. emergency department registered nurse Richard Donahue and his wife, Hilarie), and the Lugoff-Elgin High School band provided entertainment for everyone.

EMS manager Wayne Priester, who helped coordinate the event, noted the Stuff an Ambulance event made this year’s Toys for Tots campaign in Kershaw County the most successful ever. EMS also stuffed a rescue boat at Lake Wateree to add to the collection.

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