Men of Fire collect donations from community for toy drive
BULLHEAD CITY — People have been donating toys to the Local Firefighters Annual Holiday Toy Program in conjunction with The Salvation Army. On Monday, the firefighters and volunteers made the rounds collecting those toys.
“The fire department has been doing a toy drive for about 35 years now,” said Ryan Granath, Men of Fire Chapter 6 president. “We have been riding our motorcycles to pick up toys for about five years and it’s always great. We donate our time to make sure that every child has a special Christmas. It’s just a great thing to do.”
The first stop of the day was at the Harrah’s Laughlin Casino and Hotel, where the staff was waiting for the firefighters to pick up the toys.
“I would like to thank all the employees and senior management who participated in donating toys,” said Dena Alvarez, of the Harrah’s Laughlin human resources department. “We raised about $5,000 in the Turkey Trot that directly impacts children.”
After Harrah’s, the group stopped at the Golden Nugget Laughlin Hotel and Casino, where another shipment of toys was waiting.
The next stop was the Tropicana Laughlin Hotel and Casino, where the staff there was ready with lots of toys.
“Right after Thanksgiving, we have a toy drive slot tournament where people either have to donate a toy or donate $10 to participate in the tournament,” said Cecilia Mariotto, Tropicana print media coordinator. “All of our other toys came from our guests and from employees and we are grateful for every one. The bikes that we are donating were bought by our engineering department led by Ray Maxey, who coordinates that with his team. They pool their money together and go and purchase these bikes for the children.”
Next up was a stop at the Colorado Belle Casino Resort and Edgewater Casino Resort; the properties combined their toy donations.
“This is our 10th year of donating to the toy drive and it’s always getting bigger and bigger,” said Ryan Walker, Colorado Belle/Edgewater general manager. “This year we have 45 bikes which is the most we’ve had, but I want to give a shoutout to all the employees who donated to the toy drive. We will always be partners with the Bullhead City Fire Department toy drive and we just want to see children have a great Christmas.”
At the Aquarius Casino Resort, volunteers finished round one of the collection.
“We appreciate everything that the firefighters do for the community and we are just happy to be a part of it,” said Dana Kissinger of the Aquarius Casino Resort.
Two of the 20-foot trailers used to haul the toys had to head back to the Firefighters Toy Shop to unload; they were full.
The rest of the group went to Laughlin Ranch to continue picking up toys for children.
“We were thrilled when we got the opportunity to participate in the annual toy drive,” said J.C. Wright, Laughlin Ranch general manager. “We are proud to be able to support our community and all the children that live in it. We also raffled times for the toy drive such as spa day, golf rounds and more.”
The next up on the toy drive pickup was the Mirage RV Resort.
“We appreciate the residents and all who donated to the toy drive,” said Tina Benedict, Mirage RV Resort manager. “We also appreciate the firefighters for having this annual toy drive and helping the children have a better Christmas.”
Just across the street was the next stop, the River City RV Park.
“I just want to say Merry Christmas to everyone,” said Shirley Abt, manager.
The group went a little way up the road to Western Arizona Regional Medical Center, where the staff was ready with more toys.
“We are thrilled that we were able to participate in the annual toy drive,” said Mike Stenger, interim CEO. “This is a great thing of the community where lots of people will be positively impacted by all the fire department does. It’s great for the community and we are able to contribute to the happiness of children all across the city.”
The toy drive pickup continued toward Riverview RV Resort.
“We are thankful that the Bullhead City Fire Department included us in their toy drive,” said Taraisa Harrell. “To bring smiles to children faces is what we hope to do with the toys.”
Up next in the toy drive pickup was the Hope United Methodist Church of Bullhead City.
“We really thank the fire department for having this toy drive and for helping local families and their children have a great Christmas,” said Hilary Williams.
The group rolled down to the River Sports Bar & Grill to pick up more toys.
“We are just thankful for the fire department for having this toy drive,” said Karyn Phillips, owner. “We are also thankful to all of those dedicated community members for making this a great Christmas for lots of children in the city.”
The toy drive pickup continued toward Debbie’s Dispensary.
“The toys were all donated either by our patients or by our team members here,” said Debbie Hunter, owner. “We are thankful that we were able to participate in the toy drive.”
Jeff Jackson, Men of Fire Chapter 6 member and toy drive coordinator, said that Hunter, over the eight years that she has participated in the toy drive, has donated close to $20,000.
Once everything there was loaded, the team went over to Edward Jones Investments for another toy pickup.
“We’ve been participating for about eight years now and we are glad that we are able to do it every time,” said Kari Hoffman, owner.
Next on the list of stops was Mohave Electric Cooperation.
“This is our 25th year that we are participating in the toy drive and we couldn’t be happier,” said Terry Puryar, public affairs. “All the toys were donated by MEC employees so we are very proud of our team. The fire department does a great job every year putting this on for the children of the community.”
Next on the toy drive pickup was the Mohave Valley Daily News where Dona Montoya, circulation manager, stated that it had come close to reaching its goal of 800 toys. She said a total of 375 customers and News West Publishing staff donated, either by providing toys or with cash donations that were turned over to the firefighters.
The final stop was the Firehouse coffee shop in Riverview Mall, where more toys were added to the collection.
Then it was off to unload again. Next is sorting the toys and getting them ready for eager children. And, next week those toys will be distributed, making the holidays brighter for many Tri-state boys and girls.