Senator Owen H. Johnson's Holiday Toy Drive delivered over a thousand toys to children of soldiers of the Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment. The toys were collected for the children of the many soldiers who have returned home to Long Island and are suffering the hardships of this difficult economy. Senator Johnson presented the gifts at the Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment’s annual Christmas party at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Farmingdale on December 17, 2011.
“Mountains of toys were donated by members of our Long Island community wanting to brighten the holiday season for hundreds of boys and girls,” Senator Johnson said. “The overwhelming response to my toy drive was a heartwarming reminder of people’s generosity even in these difficult times and of the widespread respect and support offered to our soldiers in the Fighting 69th.”
Senator Johnson collected the toys at three sites in the 4th Senate District throughout December. Collection sites included Senator Johnson’s District Office in Babylon, Lindenhurst Village Hall, and Islip Town Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt’s Office in East Islip. Beth DelliPizzi, wife of Lieutenant Louis DelliPizzi of the Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment, donated her time during the month of December to coordinate the distribution of the toys to families in need.
The December 17th holiday party at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Farmingdale was open to all members of the Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment and their families. Events included a luncheon, games for the children, and a special visit from Santa Claus.
Photograph left to right: Sergeant Ted Gentile, Kendall McKay, Senator Owen H. Johnson, Teddy Gentile, Jack Delli-Pizzi, Andrew Gentile, Sue Gendron, Victoria Torres, and Captain Brandon Gendron.