Oklahoma Businesses Hold Toy Drive For Kids Of Deployed Soldiers

Tuesday, December 4th 2012, 10:35 pm
By: News On 6

Oklahoma soldiers on active duty say it's always hard to deploy around the holidays.

The 486th Civil Affairs Battalion in Tulsa is leaving soon for Afghanistan and local businesses are stepping up to help them out with Christmas.

Associated Builders and Contractors Incorporated in Broken Arrow is collecting toys from its 260 members to make sure the kids left behind during deployment have a gift to open this Christmas.

Christmas wouldn't be the same for these construction professionals without a military toy drive.

"The 486th are Civil Affairs builders and so are we," said Vice President Sally Singer.

Since 2001, Oklahoma's Associated Builders and Contractors have collected toys each Christmas for the 486th Civil Affairs Battalion.

"ABC members are typically very red-blooded, flag-waving Americans, and this is a way that we can give back," said CEO Carl Williams.

But the need this year is greater than ever.

The battalion identified 150 Green Country kids who need gifts this year, compared to 50 last Christmas.

"The families make a big sacrifice. Those guys are over there fighting and their spouses and their children don't have one of those parents or loved ones there, and Christmas is the toughest time," Singer said.

ABC members said if you can support a soldier's family, you support their heart.

"That wife that doesn't have a soldier there and kids to make happy at Christmas, when she's hurting a little bit, and we helped her. That's a cool deal," Singer said.

The battalion chief said a gift for a child with a deployed parent goes a long way.

"Right now, it's a hard time for the kids, because they have loved ones that are gone and anything we can do to make their Christmas just a little bit better, or maybe take their mind off of it for just a little bit, helps so much in the long run," said Major Jack Schultz.

These gifts will also go to soldiers in Green Country, who've been laid off and can't afford Christmas gifts for their kids.

"It's unbelievable how appreciative those soldiers are to get those gifts," Schultz said.

The association said the real gift is when soldiers realize they're loved like family.

The parents will choose gifts this Friday for their kids, before they deploy to Afghanistan towards the end of the year.

The association also took donations to cover any extra gifts that may be needed.