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Airmen, students donate toys to children

Cook Children's Medical Center employees help unload toy donations at the hospital from the annual 301st Security Forces Squadron Ruck for Kids drive Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, in Fort Worth, Texas. The toys are for kids who are hospitalized throughout the year. Students from O.A. Peterson, Haslet, and Sendera Ranch Elementary schools participated in the drive. (U.S. Air Force photos by Tech. Sgt. Melissa Harvey)

Cook Children's Medical Center employees help unload toy donations at the hospital from the annual 301st Security Forces Squadron Ruck for Kids drive Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, in Fort Worth, Texas. The toys are for kids who are hospitalized throughout the year. Students from O.A. Peterson, Haslet, and Sendera Ranch Elementary schools participated in the drive. (U.S. Air Force photos by Tech. Sgt. Melissa Harvey)

Members of the 301st Security Forces Squadron collect toys from Sendera Ranch Elementary students in Haslet, Texas, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, during their annual Ruck for Kids drive. The toys are for kids who are hospitalized at Cook Childrenʼs Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Students from O.A. Peterson, Haslet, and Sendera Ranch Elementary schools participated in the drive. (U.S. Air Force photos by Tech. Sgt. Melissa Harvey)

Members of the 301st Security Forces Squadron collect toys from Sendera Ranch Elementary students in Haslet, Texas, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, during their annual Ruck for Kids drive. The toys are for kids who are hospitalized at Cook Childrenʼs Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Students from O.A. Peterson, Haslet, and Sendera Ranch Elementary schools participated in the drive. (U.S. Air Force photos by Tech. Sgt. Melissa Harvey)

Tech. Sgt. Michael McDade, a 301st Security Forces Squadron member, collects toys from students at Haslet Elementary school in Haslet, Texas, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, during the unit's annual Ruck for Kids drive. The toys are for kids who are hospitalized at Cook Childrenʼs
Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Students from O.A. Peterson, Haslet, and Sendera Ranch Elementary schools participated in the drive. (U.S. Air Force photos by Tech. Sgt. Melissa Harvey)

Tech. Sgt. Michael McDade, a 301st Security Forces Squadron member, collects toys from students at Haslet Elementary school in Haslet, Texas, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, during the unit's annual Ruck for Kids drive. The toys are for kids who are hospitalized at Cook Childrenʼs Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Students from O.A. Peterson, Haslet, and Sendera Ranch Elementary schools participated in the drive. (U.S. Air Force photos by Tech. Sgt. Melissa Harvey)

Tech. Sgt. Chad Ragland, a 301st Security Forces Squadron member, collects toys from local elementary students Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, during the unit's annual Ruck for Kids drive. The toys are for kids who are hospitalized at Cook Childrenʼs
Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Students from O.A. Peterson, Haslet, and Sendera Ranch Elementary schools participated in the drive. (U.S. Air Force photos by Tech. Sgt. Melissa Harvey)

Tech. Sgt. Chad Ragland, a 301st Security Forces Squadron member, collects toys from students at O.A. Peterson Elementary school in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, during the unit's annual Ruck for Kids drive. The toys are for kids who are hospitalized at Cook Childrenʼs Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Students from O.A. Peterson, Haslet, and Sendera Ranch Elementary schools participated in the drive. (U.S. Air Force photos by Tech. Sgt. Melissa Harvey)

NAVAL AIR STATION FORT WORTH JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas --

The fifth annual Ruck for Kids drive, led by the 301st Security Forces Squadron at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, took place Dec. 15, 2017.

The drive serves as an opportunity for both military members and local families to serve their community by collecting toys to give to kids hospitalized at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

Tech. Sgts. Chad Ragland and Michael McDade, 301 SFS members, drove to O.A. Peterson, Haslet, and Sendera Ranch elementary schools to collect the toys.

As children came out by grade at one of the schools to donate their toys, Spring Ragland, wife of TSgt. Ragland, helped organize the children.

“It’s amazing, the kiddos love it,” she said. “In the mornings Garrett [her son] says, ‘Don’t forget to get me a gift, so I can give to the kids who need gifts.’ It makes me happy to give through his eyes.”

 Another school turned the toy drive into a unique learning project for the students.

“This is a fourth grade service-learning project,” said Ms. Sara Luft, Haslet Elementary School vice principal. “The kids were able to lead the entire school in their efforts to collect the toys and donate them this year.”

According to Luft, the school already has a 2018 plan to surpass this year’s involvement.

The other kids who are watching are second graders, said Luft. Our hope is that this year gets their excitement up, so that by the end of next year we have all of our kids out here helping load toys because we have so many donated.

After collecting the toys, Ragland and McDade drove them to Cook Children’s Medical Center where employees unloaded them.

Toys collected from the Ruck for Kids drive will be given to children who need a little something to brighten their day throughout the year, not just during the holiday season.

Next year, the squadron has plans to increase the amount of donations by getting more units involved in the drive and by continuing coordination with local schools.