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In Memory of 15 ASMC members killed in the Pentagon attack.  9/11/2001


Tri Arc coordinator Aida Montesinas, Clara and another Tri Arc employee
Tri Arc coordinator Aida Montesinas, Clara and another Tri Arc employee

   Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  As usual you helped to make the holiday season great for over 515 children, who had a much nicer Christmas and whose parents are truly thankful.  The recipients were the children of the employees of Chimes, Tri-Ark and DidLake companies, who clean the Pentagon.  This is the fourth time the Washington Chapter of ASMC has done this.  Most of the toys were donated by the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program.  However, since we know that their donations do not provide many age appropriate items for most 12 to 16 year olds, those gifts were provided by the Chapter and its members.

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Tri-Arc employee getting toys from Clara

Most of our Chapter member contributions were dropped off at our Holiday Social at Ft. Myer.  Thanks to all of you who brought a toy or food, and to all who loaded my van.  One generous member donated a small TV which was given to a 17 year old girl in a wheelchair.  Many of the other 14 to 16 year old recipients received both a good book and some gift certificates to McDonalds.

Barnes and Noble's Community Relations Manager, Courtney Monkhouse, worked with us to select both current and classic books appropriate for this age group, and gave us a discount on the books.

A happy Did Lake mom
A happy Did Lake mom

Toys for Tots provided two bicycles, and we made sure that each went to a family that had several children who would be able to ride them.

A special batch of gratitude and blessings to those of you who provided extra donations, when we realized on Friday that the quality of what was left would not be a nice main present that most of us would want to give.  Your last minute quick response was truly great and made our task much easier.  Many more toys were brought to the sorting site on Monday and we made sure each child on our list received something appropriate for their age.  The folks most responsible for the extra toys are Keith Hicks, Judy Guenther and Jo Mac Michael.

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Young donor giving up Easy Bake Oven

We had one young donor about age six, who really would have liked to have one of the toy ovens that really bake, for herself.  Her mother told her and the recommended age for the toy agreed that she was way too young to play with it herself.  They bought it anyway and donated it to the toy drive.

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Santa's helpers Tim, Clara and Coy

Tony Sorrentino met us at Budget to pay for the truck with the Chapter credit card.   Craig Fitzgibbons drove the rented truck to Quantico and delivered the toys to the Pentagon with Coy Rahman, who also did all the labels and signs we used for sorting (some 1,500+) and organized the toys and the sorting.  I also had a great time organizing and supervising all the activities.  I was also on pins and needles because I did not get a confirmation as to when/if our toys would be ready.  The Marines working the toy detail were too busy to answer the phones or email.  Finally the suspense was so great that on Thursday, the 19th of December I drove down to Quantico to see where in the queue our order happened to be.  It was a good thing that I went.  It would have been almost last, but since we went down there they pulled the order together by noon that day.  Otherwise, we might not have been notified until the 23rd, well after the time the toys were needed for delivery during the parties of the three companies.  When the toys arrived at the sorting site on the 19th, Coy and I had a great deal of fun, as we had to take each of the 650+ toys provided by the Marines, and sort them into the age groups.  We used to receive them sorted that way, but this year the donations to the Marines came later and were fewer so there was no time for them to pre-sort by age.  That gave us the morning of the 20th to sort and bag the toys for Tri-Arc and Chimes employees whose parties were that day, and the morning of Monday the 23rd to do the toys for DidLake, whose party was at noon.

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Chimes moms and child at Chimes party waiting for Coy to read the name on the package

In all, other than the many donors, we had 16 folks who actively participated in some phase of this great event.  We contributed a lot of time as well.  Although it is impossible to add it all up as most of us don't record every time we do a small part of a larger undertaking, we have spent at least 115 hours among the 16 of us.  Tina Miller came to sort both days.  In addition to those I already mentioned, Judy Guenther, Steve Scoval, Maritza LoGrasso, Judy Perry, Jacqueline DePaulitte, Laurell Baer, and Mae Price all helped to sort and/or bring us the toys.  Thanks to each and every one of you for the time and effort you donated.

Clara supervising Coy getting hugs as he deliveres gifts to DidLake employees.
Clara supervising Coy getting hugs as he deliveres gifts to DidLake employees.

Darryl Diggs of the Pentagon Building Manager's office not only gave us the use of the room where we stored and sorted the toys, he made the arrangements so we could easily get the toys into the building, and at the last minute, he sent us one of the boxes of  toys that was collected in the halls of the Pentagon, along with some food for the Carpenter's Shelter.

Tim with Tri Arc moms
Tim with Tri Arc moms

Since one of our helpers came over from the Navy Annex, we were also able to send some toys over for the three families whose members clean that facility.  CW03 Tim Meece not only helped to sort toys both Friday and Monday, but we went back to his office and put on his dress blues to help deliver the toys on both days.  He was a great help and hit with some of the parents, who asked to have their picture taken with him.  In addition to Tim we had Coy Rahman and Michael Ebiala, helping me deliver the toys to the three companies. 

Vic Ackley, our Webmaster and Audrey Davis, our President, made all the announcements and encouraged you all to help.

And although we gave away a lot of stuffed animals, we have some left over for the "Bunnies for Babies" drive we'll have in the Spring for the children who are hospitalized at Bethesda Naval and Walter Reed hospitals.  More on that later.

Again, thank you all who made it possible for all the children and parents to have a much nicer holiday season than they would  have without your gifts and participation.

We also collected non-perishable food for the Carpenter's Shelter in Alexandria.  The director of the shelter, and the director in charge of donations, both personally expressed their thanks and were especially grateful that our donation did not have to be refrigerated, as their fridge and freezer space was well over its limit on Christmas Eve when we finally had time to deliver the food.  The shelter had 30 children in residence this holiday season with their working, sober parent(s).  In total they have sleeping space for 80 people and the shelter is full. 

A special THANK YOU to the member who donated a complete turkey dinner for a family, including a gift certificate for the bird.  It was given to a family that has a member working in the Pentagon in one of the cleaning companies.

Clara Weston,
Community Service Chair
Washington Chapter of ASMC

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Tri-Arc employees getting toys from Clara

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Grandfather of 6 Mr. Butler getting the second bag for his grandchildren.  The first one only had two toys and he was getting worried as to what happened to the other 4 children's toys.  It was the last bag we delivered to a Chimes employee
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Tim and Michael with two DidLake moms
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DidLake recipients around Santa's Helper Coy
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Michael's turn to get hugs at DidLake party
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DidLake employees waiting for gifts and food

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Last minute donations being delivered for sorting.  Although the halo was made by the camera, it was well deserved

This  page last updated:  July 13, 2014
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