FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – A group of Fort Wainwright, Alaska career counselors really got into the spirit of giving this holiday season and went a little beyond the usual Christmas toy drives.
Master Sgt. Michael MacDonald, senior career counselor for 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division organized and led a project to build and donate 24 toy boxes to organizations on Fort Wainwright and in Fairbanks.
“Every year Soldiers all over the Army do toy drives to give back to the communities that they belong to,” said MacDonald. “I got the idea a few years ago to build and donate boxes for the children to keep their toys in.”
MacDonald and eight other Fort Wainwright career counselors built the boxes in his garage after work.
“This was initially supposed to be 15 or 16 boxes,” said MacDonald, “but we got such a great response when people started seeing what we were making we decided to make more.”
The boxes, which are made out of oak and maple and took about five hours each to build, were donated to the fire department, the Fairbanks Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Fairbanks American Legion and Fort Wainwright families.
“The toys are going to change as the children get older,” said MacDonald, “but hopefully we’ve given them something that will last long enough that they can pass them down to their children.”
MacDonald said he hopes next year they can start the process earlier, encouraging more people to donate both time and money to help them reach their goal of making 100 boxes.
“At the end of the day it’s about community involvement,” said MacDonald, “about reaching out and giving back.”
Additional information about the program can be found at the link below: