by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nate Littlejohn
WARRENTON, Ore. — Coast Guard Sector Columbia River and Marine Corps League North Coast Detachment 1228, Ore., encourage North Coast Oregon and Southwest Washington state community members to continue donating items to Toys for Tots until Friday, December 21, 2012 at noon.
The Toys for Tots campaign is a Marine Corps program that helps children throughout the U.S. experience the joy of Christmas by supplying them with donated holiday gifts. The Marines established the program in order to play an active role in developing our nation’s youth, uniting members of local communities and improving communities for future generations.
Marine Corps League North Coast Detachment 1228 is heading up the local campaign here on the Oregon North Coast and Southwestern Washington state. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River is helping to make the campaign as successful as possible.
The Coast Guard helped get the word out about the program earlier this holiday season, just before the Thanksgiving commercial holiday push, after a daring rescue at sea.
Santa Claus was transiting south toward the outlet mall in Seaside, Ore., Nov. 17, 2012, at approximately 8 a.m., when his lead reindeer cramped up and took a nosedive into the Pacific, just west of Gearhart, Ore. Unfortunately, the entire team, complete with Santa, ended up in the water with him.
Lt. Cdr. Daniel Leary, Seaside High School football coach and Coast Guard helicopter pilot, stepped up to resolve the situation. Leary flew a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crew from Sector Columbia River’s Air Station Astoria to the scene. The crew plucked Santa from the surf and delivered him to the mall parking lot where Seaside firefighters and Toys “R” Us employees helped provide a safe place to land. Santa spent the morning listening to children’s holiday wishes and promoting Toys for Tots on behalf of the Marines.
“The Coast Guard is always proud and more than willing to help our local communities in any capacity that we can,” Leary stated after landing.
Rumor has it that all of Santa’s reindeer swam safely to shore that morning, but he could use a new sleigh. The Coast Guard is considering helping him deliver toys via MH-60T Jayhawk this Christmas Eve.
New toy donations will be accepted at the front gate at Sector Columbia River in Warrenton, just before the Astoria Regional Airport on the left, located at 2185 SE 12th Place Warrenton, OR, 97146. The public is invited to leave donations in the care of the front gate watchstander, Dec. 13-14 from 9 a.m.- 3p.m., and Dec. 17 – 21 from 9 a.m. – noon each day.
Santa won’t be able to bring presents to everyone this year because our helicopters aren’t as powerful as his sleigh. Please help with your new toy donations for local children.