Blue Angels deliver toys to Sandy victims
By 2nd Lt. Alexis McGee
| 4th Marine Aircraft Wing | December 07, 2012
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst --
Marine Aircraft Group
Marine Forces Reserve
Toys for Tots
Marine Aircraft Group 49 Marines worked alongside other joint base service members to host a “Mission to Save Christmas” holiday event Dec. 3, 2012, at the MAG-49 hangar.
The Blue Angel crew, who left from their home base of Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., made stops in Atlanta and Washington to pick up toys on the way to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., where the toys would answer the need for children's gifts in this area of the country.
For many residents of the Northeast, Hurricane Sandy has put celebrating the holidays on the back burner, replaced by a different set of priorities. One family in particular was invited to the joint base airfield so the Toys for Tots effort could bring some Christmas joy to their children.
Heather and Peter Sabey, whose entire first floor of their home in Tom's River, N.J., was flooded during the storm, said their daily activities are now tied up with trying to restore some sense of normalcy to their lives and the lives of their children.
The Sabeys said they are busy taking care of recovery efforts in their home and driving children to and from school so the holiday season has taken on a different meaning this year.
"Going Christmas shopping for our kids has taken the back seat to us making calls to insurance companies and trying to get our lives back," said Heather Sabey. "So I think receiving Christmas presents thanks to Toys for Tots today is going to be huge for our kids to feel the love and the joy of the season from all over the country."
According to Peter Sabey the Toys for Tots effort takes a lot of burden off them and other parents in the area who are unable to provide a typical Christmas to their children this year because of the devastation from the storm.
"It's great to see people come together during this time of hardship," said Sabey.
"It's also great to see that not only my kids but many kids in the community here are going to get that Christmas they hoped for thanks to Toys for Tots."
Col. Robert Tobin, MAG-49 commander, welcomed and thanked the audience members following the aircraft’s arrival. He also expressed his significance Toys for Tots plays in children’s lives.
“We know from the smiles on the children’s faces, from the grateful appreciation of their parents, that the simple gift of the shiny new toy, something that many people take for granted nowadays, can make a tremendous difference on the life of a child,” said Tobin.
President and Chief Executive Officer for the Marines Toys for Tots Foundation, retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Pete Osman, stated that having a working relationship with the Blue Angels serves a vital mission for the Toys for Tots program.
"There's a great visibility in the Blue Angels program as far as it being a community outreach program much like Toys for Tots is," said Osman. "So it really is a natural fit having the Blue Angels lend their support to Toys for Tots."
New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who was also in attendance, thanked the joint base community members for their recovery efforts during Hurricane Sandy and being there when the community members needed them most.
“New Jersey has come to appreciate the men and women in uniform, especially here at the joint base,” she said. “They were the line of service during Hurricane Sandy. They were the line of safety. They gave us all a sense of calm.”
Guadagno emphasized the state and people of New Jersey will recover from the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.
“We need people to know that there is hope,” she said. “And that’s what the C-130 behind me represents.”
“The best part of the event is joining up with the community,” said Gunnery Sgt. James Fullarton, Fat Albert Airlines. “It is great seeing the different services come together to work as a community to help people in need.”
The trucks left for their final delivery locations once the toys were loaded and the volunteers could smile with pride knowing their efforts would help bring smiles to the children of the Northeast impacted by the storm.