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    The 82nd Airborne collects 2,000 toys for less fortunate

    82nd Airborne Division kicks off Presents from Paratroopers with toy donation

    Photo By Sgt. Alleea Oliver | U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Allais, a parachute rigger assigned to Headquarters...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Alleea Oliver 

    49th Public Affairs Detachment   

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. — On a brisk morning in December, paratroopers from across Fort Bragg stood in a line longer than a football field for three hours, holding toys to donate to less fortunate children across the state of North Carolina

    This was only day one of the 82nd Airborne Division’s inaugural All American Presents from Paratroopers (A2P2) event.

    From Dec. 2 to Dec. 5, 2019, over 1,000 paratroopers showed their holiday spirit and made a difference in children's lives by donating 2,000 toys during the event.

    The paratroopers that donated toys were then given a raffle ticket for the chance to parachute jump out of rotary aircraft onto Sicily Drop Zone. Some of those drawn earned foreign jump wings on chalks led by allied and partner jumpmasters. 300 paratroopers earned German jump wings and 350 earned Chilean jump wings.

    Tuesday and Thursday, the selected paratroopers occupied Sicily Drop Zone from dawn to noon, rigged up, and boarded and jumped from either a CH-47 Chinook or UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

    “I was a part of Operation Toy Drop ten years ago,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Parker, a human resources specialist assigned to the 8th Psychological Operations Group. “To see the Division host Presents from Paratroopers this year so that children don’t go without means a lot to me.”

    Operation Toy Drop that was hosted by U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command for the last 21 years. Operation Toy Drop was cancelled this year due to lack of resources.

    The Toccoa, Georgia, native parachute jumps at least four times a year for training purposes, but this time it didn’t seem like a duty to him.

    “We do these combat operations day-to-day,” he said. “We are always training to be ready to fight for the nation, but today it’s not about that; It’s about giving back to our community.”

    Readiness is the 82nd Abn. Div. primary priority. A2P2 gave the Division another opportunity to enhance their airborne capability while simultaneously motiving paratroopers to support local families.

    “It's a win-win," Chaplain Crawley said. "It's great for the paratroopers to be able to have a good esprit de corps. It's good for them to be able to train with partnered nations, but it's also great because it's a good excuse for us to be able to give back to the community."

    The greater installation showed its kindness, selfless service and charity during the event, he said.

    “It’s paratroopers expressing their gratitude to the community by giving back to them,” said Maj. Timothy Crawley, the 82nd Abn. Div. Deputy Chaplain. “Surprisingly, this event took on a life of its own; There were various units on post who didn’t participate in the jump.

    Although those servicemembers are not airborne qualified, they were still able to donate. Despite A2P2’s success this year, Division officials are not sure if the Presents from Paratroopers event will transform into a new annual tradition.

    The Travis Mills Foundation distributed the donated toys to nonprofits across North Carolina.



    Date Taken: 12.05.2019
    Date Posted: 12.09.2019 15:14
    Story ID: 354848
    Location: FORT BRAGG, NC, US 

    Web Views: 162
    Downloads: 0