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News: Motorcycle riders donate toys at MCAS Iwakuni

Story by Lance Cpl. David WaltersSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

Motorcycle riders donate toys at MCAS Iwakuni Lance Cpl. Alissa Schuning

Toys overflow the bins at the Marine Thrift Store after motorcyclists and participants made their donations at the Motorcycle Rally and Toy Drive aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 24, 2013. The main goal of the event was to collect 100 toys, but with participants help approximately 250 toys were accumulated.

IWAKUNI, Japan - Giving. ‘Tis the season to give and that is what approximately 200 motorcycle riders throughout Japan gathered to do at the Marine Thrift Store aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 24, 2013.

The Marine Thrift Store opened its doors to both Japanese and Americans to attend their first Motorcycle Rally and Toy Drive event.
Lt. Col. James Walker, the station airfield operations officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, assisted in organizing the toy drive for what he said was an event which “Japanese see us at our best.”

“This is more than just a toy drive,” said Walker. “This is a community relations event. We are attracting a type of crowd that we don’t normally see while we are out here, and they get to see Marines volunteering.”

The Provost Marshal’s Office, Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and other volunteers arrived early in preparation to showcase their equipment in static displays.

When motorcyclists arrived at the thrift store, they lined up with toys in their hands that they brought and placed them inside the donation bin to help support the cause.

“The goal is to collect at least 100 toys and send everyone away with a good, positive impression of MCAS Iwakuni,” said Walker.
The donations exceeded expectation when volunteers collected approximately 250 toys, thanks to the riders’ help.

Retired Army 1st Sgt. David Baggett, the treasurer for the Marine Thrift Store, helped organize and run the event.

Baggett said he wanted to give the Japanese kids of Iwakuni a positive, long-lasting impression of U.S. service members.

“Some may be too young to understand,” said Baggett. “But when they grow up and still have this toy that they received from one of these young Marines, then they will realize how much it means.”

While it’s just one event, the toy drive helped to support the larger cause.

“The big thing behind this event is community relations,” said Baggett. “I don’t think we can do enough to tell the Japanese people ‘thank you for letting us be here.’ Picking up the toys and giving them to the Japanese community is the best thing we can do.”

The next step for the toys includes a sorting process conducted by the thrift store employees in age groups and giving them to individual organizations that visit children’s homes for distribution.
If anyone wishes to make a donation, the thrift shop is accepting donations until Dec. 15. Thrift store employees plan to have a box set up at the station tree lighting ceremony Nov. 30.

Hours for donation at the thrift shop are: Monday 12-3 p.m., Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.


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Public Domain Mark
This work, Motorcycle riders donate toys at MCAS Iwakuni, by LCpl David Walters, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:11.24.2013

Date Posted:11.27.2013 00:43

Location:IWAKUNI, YAMAGUCHI, JPGlobe

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  • Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron spent the night under the stars when they participated in an overnight field exercise and field meet at Penny Lake Field at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, April 18-19, 2013.
  • Corps Community Services took 15 residents from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, to Iwakuni Fukushikaikan to participate in a cultural adaptation cooking class, October 11, 2013.
  • The thought of helping those less fortunate, of giving back to the community and the desire to make life better for others are just a few reasons people volunteer their time to visit orphanages and children’s homes.
Volunteers from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, have an extra reason to add that service members in the United States don’t possess, the opportunity to form stronger bonds as ambassadors in a foreign country.

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