Operation Toy Soldier – US Coast Guard Station Sand Key

Posted March 14, 2016

Funeral Home Blog Operation Toy Soldier Us Sand Key 000097 Op Toy Soldier Donates Us Coast Guard

Operation Toy Soldier is in full swing this season at Veterans Funeral Care. Last season the Tampa Bay Community donated over 2,000 toys for children of military families. That year Veterans Funeral Care and the community donated all of those toys to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida for the children of MacDill military families. This year we had our eyes set on the United States Coast Guard Station Sand Key.

On a cool and windy day in December we were greeted at the front gate by Executive Petty Officer BMC Derek Campbell, pictured above. I asked him if there were any families on station that had young families. Chief Campbell replied, “Oh yeah, most of us actually.” I then described Operation Toy Soldier as the program created by Veterans Funeral Care with the goal of providing toys for children of active duty servicemen.

funeral home blog operation toy soldier us sand key 000095 unloading toy soldier

Sand Key Coast Guard unloads toys donated from Veterans Funeral Care’s Operation Toy Soldier

We chatted a bit more causally for a few minutes and then he stopped the conversation and said, “Excuse me for one second I’ll be right back” and then turned around and walked away.

When he returned he mustered the entire station and repeated our purpose for the visit. He asked me very directly where the toys were located. I told the Chief that all the toys are in the back of my suburban and that I would be happy to unload them for him and his men. He said,

“That won’t be necessary you guys have blessed us enough, if it’s okay with you they can unload the toys and bring them inside.”

funeral home blog operation toy soldier us sand key 000096 us carries toys

These men are thrilled to receive this donation.

After the order was given about a dozen coasties attacked the suburban and had it empty in about four minutes. They even noticed the red carpet we laid out for them in the back of the suburban.

Chief Campbell invited us all back inside for coffee while everyone figured out the fairest way to disperse the toys. That decision was made pretty quick, the senior guys who had the most kids picked first on down to the new guys. Some things never change.

We are very blessed to have these brave men and woman patrolling our waters here in the Tampa Bay area and nationwide, always ready to respond at a moments notice. On behalf of everyone who contributed this Christmas season to Operation Toy Soldier and all of us at Veterans Funeral Care, thank you for your unwavering service to our country and have a Merry Christmas.

J. Rudolph

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