From helping kids to honoring veterans, a look at Southern Utah’s Marines Corps League in action

Marines of Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Henry Franz and Carl Kulyk helps a family with their donations in Walmart Saturday, St. George, Utah, Dec. 2, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Bill Fortune, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Whether it’s standing at their post at Walmart, participating in the “Hard as Hell” three-day shooting match, collecting toy donations during a car show, officiating a military funeral rich in tradition or bringing joy to children on Christmas morning, the Marine Corps League in Dixie has been busy, and the community is a better place for it.

A Toys for Tots collection drive kicked off Dec. 2 with Marines of the Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 stationed at their posts at both St. George Walmart stores to encourage shoppers to donate toys or money for the area toy drive.

Marines of Utah Dixie Detachment 1270
stand at their posts at Walmart in St. George to support Toys for Tots program, St. George, Utah, Dec. 2, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Bill Fortune, St. George News

“This is an annual event taken on by the detachment that assures Southern Utah area children have a good Christmas experience,” detachment spokesman Bill Fortune said.

This year the group had the help of Robynne & Matt of the Star Radio 98.1 morning show, who conducted on-the-air interviews and brought a lot of attention to shoppers visiting the stores.

In another donation drive event, hundreds of practical shooting enthusiasts engaged targets from hundreds of yards away, negotiated steep terrain and lugged heavy weapons in the 7th annual “Hard as Hell Multigun” event that ran last weekend at the Southern Utah Practical Shooting Range, where more than $2,300 was raised for the local Toys for Tots program.

“Each shooter stuffed a donation in a jar on their way to the targets, with local kids being the biggest winner of the match,” Les Covey said.

The Marine Corps League also joined forces with a group of classic car-loving heroes known as Car Guys Care at a car show to benefit the local Toys for Tots program for the sixth consecutive year held Dec. 2 at Nielson’s RV where more than $2,000 in cash was raised, along with hundreds of toys.

Read more: Car Guys Care car show at Nielson RV nets hundreds of toys and more than $2,000 for Toys for Tots

Two car groups new to the classic car scene, Imports of Southern Utah and Cedar City Imports, also brought 13 cars as a show of support for the Toys for Tots program.

Hundreds of toys collected at Car Guys Care car show to benefit local Toys for Tots program at Nielson RV Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Every dollar donated translates into about $4 worth of toys because of the buying power the U.S. Marine Corps has with Walmart and Toys R Us, Rick Massey, Southern Utah Toys for Tots coordinator, said in a 2016 interview.

Last year 3,389 children in the area received 14,400 toys, thanks to the Toys for Tots program and the Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Marine Corps League. This year the Marines are looking for more volunteers to help with the packing of the gift bags and delivering them after Dec. 13.

Volunteers are needed to help at a temporary sorting facility located at Red Cliffs Square, 2654 E Red Cliffs Drive in St. George from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Anyone interested can call Steve Handy at 435-619-5064 or Massey, the program’s coordinator, at 435-668-4813 to make arrangements to help or for schedules. 

Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Marine Corps League assisting in “Remember Pearl Harbor” at the Tonaquint Cemetery Thursday, St. George, Utah, Dec. 7, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Bill Fortune, St. George News

Nationally, the Marine Toys for Tots program collected and distributed 18 million toys to 7 million less fortunate children last year, allowing them to experience the joy of Christmas and receive a message of hope that otherwise would not have been there.

This community action program took place in 792 communities covering all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Over 97 percent of all money raised or donated is used to provide toys, books and other gifts to families, with less than 3 percent spent on fundraising and overhead.

The local detachment also participates in many military funerals throughout the year, to ensure that every member of the military is buried in a manner full of hallowed military traditions.

Read more: Lifelong friend keeps promise, takes Marine on final journey

The Dixie Detachment also participated in another community event that honored the remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day at Tonaquint Cemetery Thursday, joining dozens of veterans and their families. The group officiated the flag ceremony and laid a wreath on the cemetery’s Pearl Harbor monument followed by a 21-gun salute during the finale.

Read more: Pearl Harbor survivor attends local ceremony on 76th anniversary of attack

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1 Comment

  • Not_So_Much December 9, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    A great group all the way around.

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