Hoover firefighters launch toy gift drive in community

Published 4:23 pm Monday, December 10, 2012

From left, Hoover Fire Lt. Toby Rigsby and firefighters Buddy Harris and John Dempsey stand ready to accept your gifts of toys or checks to provide Christmas gifts to children of Alabama military personnel now serving on active duty. (Contributed)

By RICHARD PARKER / Community Columnist

The nine Hoover City Fire Stations, along with the two Rocky Ridge Fire District Stations, have launched their 2012 toy gift drive effort.

Operation Grateful Heart collects toys to be distributed as Christmas gifts for children of Alabama military personnel currently on active duty. Checks and money orders are also accepted, but must be made payable to “Hoover Public Safety Charity Foundation.”

Toys, checks and money orders can be dropped off at any of the fire stations between now and Christmas Eve.

Toys must be new, must be in their original packaging/container and must not be gift wrapped.

Any kind of toy, including bicycles, is acceptable. Size is not a problem. Any kind of firearms or fireworks will not be accepted.

Toys will be distributed only to children of Alabama residents serving on active duty.

Last year, the effort provided gifts for 4,000 kids in Alabama.

“We have been doing this program for eight years,” said Public Information Officer Rusty Lowe. “We get excited about it because we see it as a way to help children of active duty military families. These kids already miss their loved ones who are away serving and that feeling just gets worse when they can’t be home for Christmas. So being able to help in this way just makes Christmas a little better for the kids and relieves a little bit of the stress they feel.”

Christmas is the season for kids. Today would be a good day to put Operation Grateful Heart on your list of things to do.

Pick up a few toys or write a check and drop either or both off at your local Hoover Fire Station, whether in Jefferson County or Shelby County. You can also drop gifts at one of the Rocky Ridge Fire Stations.

Chances are that starting your Christmas activities in this way will keep your heart right all the way to New Year’s Day. Help our firefighters make Christmas better for kids of active duty military personnel. Your Christmas will be brighter, too!


Richard Parker can be reached by email at rbp1941@gmail.com.