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Troopers round up mountain of toys

December 20, 1999

Editor's note: For these 12 days before Christmas we will be recognizing individuals and groups who make the holidays better for others. This is the ninth in a series.

W.Va. TrooperBy DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




BARDANE, W.Va. - Nobody is sure who promotes all the good cheer at the West Virginia State Police barracks here, but it crops up every year around holiday time.

cont. from front page

Local troopers put out a barrel to collect toys for needy children every holiday season, and the donations appear as if Saint Nick arrived.

The barrel frequently overflows with toys and canned food, and sometimes it is emptied up to five times during the holiday season, said Sgt. S.E. Paugh.

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State police give the donations to the Salvation Army, which distributes the toys and food, Paugh said.

State police detachments in every county across the state set out barrels for the West Virginia Troopers for the Needy effort, and about 25,000 toys are collected every year, said state police spokesman Scott Mayo.

Toys collected in the individual counties are distributed to families in those counties, Mayo said.

Mayo said he' s not sure why the toy collection is so popular, but it may be that people trust a program operated by the state police.

"We enjoy a pretty good reputation in West Virginia, and we want to continue that by providing a donation space," Mayo said.

The Jefferson County state police barracks is in a government building that also houses such agencies as the Jefferson County Health Department, the 911 center and the Jefferson County Development Authority.

Employees in the building along Wiltshire Road said they don't usually see who fills up the barrel.

A woman who is a leader in the community said she usually puts items in the barrel, but she did not want to be identified. "It's just something I do," she said.

The woman said she usually goes to the local Toys R Us store and picks out the "hot toys" to leave at the collection center.

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