In the midst of the Christmas shopping rush and sub-zero temperatures, members of the Arctic Young Marines set up posts to collect Toys for Tots in Kenai at the Big K-mart and in Soldotna at Fred Myers.
According to Executive Officer Gina Keith, of the Arctic Young Marines, all the toys collected locally for the Toys for Tots program were distributed on the Kenai Peninsula. "The kids are enjoying this a lot, they are earning community service hours toward their community service ribbon. In order to earn that ribbon, they have to collect 50 hours, and some of the kids have even asked to be scheduled for double shifts," said Keith.
Private 1st Class Aaron Byrd, Corporal Jenni Garrison, and Private Sean McGahan of the Arctic Young Marines do a push up for every dollar spent on a Toys for Tots toy at Big K.
When things got a little slow at the collection stand, Young Marine Private 1st Class Aaron Byrd, offered to do a pushup for every dollar spent on a toy and donated to the Young Marines. By 11:30am Saturday, Byrd had done over a hundred push-ups, but was still standing behind his challenge, "My shoulders are getting a little sore sir, but we'll get 'em done," said Byrd. According to Dennis Welton, Commander of the Arctic Young Marines, over 750 new toys were collected, and well over 300 push-ups performed by his Young Marines.
"Many of these young people may never go on to military service, but they are learning the same type of discipline, respect, and community service that the adult Marines do. I'm very proud of these kids," said Welton.
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