Sgt. 1st Class Luis Saavedra
10th Sustainment Brigade PAO
Soldiers of 7th Engineer Battalion donated toys to the Mountain of Toys program to work toward the goal of ensuring children in the Fort Drum community receive at least one toy this holiday season.
It was a volunteer event that some Soldiers took advantage of to support the Sergeants Major Association at Fort Drum, which sponsors the program that began 18 years ago.
Some 300 Soldiers conducted a ruck march from their headquarters to the USO Fort Drum, some wearing holiday-themed hats, while carrying toys.
“The favorite part (of Mountain of Toys) is taking care of Families,” said Capt. Anthony Armelino, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 7th Engineer Battalion. “The strength of our Soldiers is our Families.”
Soldiers entered the USO and made their way toward a Christmas tree.
A small mountain of toys quickly formed as Soldiers placed gifts, ranging from board games to oversized teddy bears, by the base of the tree.
It is not the first time the battalion has shown support for the program.
“This is the second year the 7th Engineer Battalion has provided us extra toys for our toy drive,” said Joseph McLaughlin, a member of the Sergeants Major Association at Fort Drum.
McLaughlin said the influx of toys means they will have enough toys to support the requests to date, although donations are still being accepted.
Armelino said he thinks the unit doubled the amount of toys that were donated compared to the previous year.