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Legion Post 6 gives back to community

Gunnery Sgt. Michael Walmsley and First Sgt. Roy Martin — both of the United States Marine Corps — walked briskly through one of the conference rooms at American Legion Post 6 on Monday afternoon, holding boxes of stuffed animals and games securely in their hands.

It’s Toys for Tots season again in Howard County, and several organizations throughout the area have been busy gathering items in recent weeks to donate to the charitable event, which in turn gives those items to families in need this Christmas.

Marines Mike Walmsley and Roy Martin pick up toys Monday from the American Legion for Toys for Tots. Tim Bath | Kokomo Tribune

American Legion officials say they have been donating to Toys for Tots for at least 15 years, and each year is just as special as the last.

“It makes us feel good,” American Legion trustee Jerry Mitchell said. “That’s what we’re here for is to help the community. Being American Legion, our main deal is veterans. But we also have a lot of programs that take in younger kids and stuff. We have Toys for Tots, flag education, Boys State, Girls State, things like that. We’re really all about trying to help the community.”

Annie Ronk, wife of American Legion commander Bob Ronk, agreed with Mitchell, adding that the veterans’ organization is always looking for more volunteers, too, which she said can only help spread their charitable giving.

“There are veterans out there who don’t belong to Post 6 that possibly need to join Post 6 so that they can also help (these organizations) we help,” she said. “… We need help. We need more people, so maybe seeing this kind of giving will draw more people into joining us.”

Along with Toys for Tots, Mitchell and Annie Ronk noted that the American Legion does several other events for needy veterans and their families during this time of year, including a “Christmas wrap” at the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System in Marion.

“We do over 600 presents, and it’s mainly for the patients and their families,” Mitchell said. “Since they’re in the VA, they can’t get out and shop like most people, so we just have table after table of presents. They (hospital officials) bring them (veterans) down to shop, and it doesn’t cost a thing. It’s a great event. It’s a great cause. And we just want people to come out and be as proud of being a part of this organization as we are.”

To learn more about the American Legion Post 6, call 765-453-2501.

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