12/21/06 — More than 400 toys collected for Toys for Tots

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More than 400 toys collected for Toys for Tots

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on December 21, 2006 1:45 PM

Capt. John Winstead served in the United States Marine Corps for 25 years before joining the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

So when he heard that the Marine-sponsored Toys For Tots drive would be represented for a sixth straight year here in Wayne, he was pleased.

More than 400 toys that were collected from county employees during this year's drive are on their way to Raleigh today, via one of the sheriff's deputies, Winstead said.

"We got a room full here," he said. "Members of the Marine Corps Reserves in Raleigh will distribute them to needy families."

And he and other law enforcement officials know the need is great this time of year, Winstead added. Maybe that's why they continue to do all they can to be part of making someone's holiday brighter.

"I don't know exactly what it is," Winstead said. "Maybe because of our jobs we see the needs, especially in this county, and want to do something about it."

More than 1,000 Wayne employees pitched in this year, dropping off toys and donations at the sheriff's office. But the giving doesn't stop there, Winstead added.

"This one at our office was just the county employees that did this," he said. "But I've seen that others are doing this on their own."

Founded in 1947 by Maj. Bill Hendricks and reservists in California, Toys for Tots has supported more than 166 million children in it's 58-plus years of existance. In that time, Marines have distributed more than 351 million toys.

Winstead said he is proud of Wayne County for joining the Marine Corps' mission.

Helping others on Christmas just feels right, he added. And it's not to gain respect or praise either.

"We don't look for a lot of credit," Winstead said. "It's just a good thing to do."