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Toys in tow for bike run

Members from the Holloman and Alamogordo community show their motorcycles for Toys for Tots Saturday at Washington Park in Alamogordo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Colbert)

Members from the Holloman and Alamogordo community show their motorcycles for Toys for Tots Saturday at Washington Park in Alamogordo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Colbert)

Toys collected to help children have a happier holiday fromToys for Tots will be given to the children Dec. 23. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Colbert)

Toys collected to help children have a happier holiday fromToys for Tots will be given to the children Dec. 23. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Colbert)

Members from the Alamogordo Motorcycle Club display their cars at Washington Park in Alamogordo to help collect toys for Toys for Tots Saturday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Colbert)

Members from the Alamogordo Motorcycle Club display their cars at Washington Park in Alamogordo to help collect toys for Toys for Tots Saturday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Colbert)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Air Force bikers will bring bounty of toys to Washington Park in Alamogordo Saturday in support of the Keystone Kops Toys for Tots program.

This is the second year the bikes have run from Holloman to town for this Christmas giving program.

"Last year was the first one; hopefully we have them for at least a few more years," said Staff Sgt. Timothy Schuster, 49th Maintenance Group.

Sergeant Schuster initially set up the bike run from Holloman last year. "We had an overwhelming showing. Over 100 bikes showed up."

Sergeant Schuster said base-dwelling bike run participants will meet at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at J.R. Rockers and end up at Washington Park.

"We don't really do a signup," Sergeant Schuster said. "We tell people, 'Here's what's going on, just show up.' I've had a tremendous response here on base. We expect just as many, if not more, than last year."

"What we ask of people who want to participate is donate a toy," said Mr. Wallace Anderson, local Toys for Tots point of contact. "When we get to Washington Park, all the riders will put their toys in a big box.

"Local law enforcement will play tag football, which we call pig ball. A couple of car clubs are going to participate along with the motorcycles. We're going to have a four-hour get together and we invite the public to come down and donate."

"There will be sports, food and T-shirts for sale," said Sergeant Schuster. "This year it will be quite a little event."

"On Dec. 23, we will be giving out the donated toys to the children," said Mr. Anderson. "The program will be held at the civic center at First and Florida from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The children will meet with Santa and be handed a bag of toys donated by the caring people of Otero County."

The Keystone Kops Toys for Tots program is a local effort which was accredited by the national Marine Toys for Tots Foundation five years ago, according to Mr. Anderson. The national foundation provides additional sources and toys for local efforts.

"Well, actually the local program we do for Otero County I started 26 years ago, then the last five or six years I got it tied in with the foundation in Quantico, Va.," said Mr. Anderson. "But actually, when I first started, it was just police officers and local people."
Mr. Anderson started Keystone Kops Toys for Tots when he was a young officer with the Department of Public Safety. He noticed when responding to service calls many of the homes he went to had children but no Christmas presents for them. "I talked with several of the other officers and asked if a program such as Toys for Tots would help provide toys to those children," said Mr. Anderson. "

With that thought in mind, several other officers and business people in the community began collecting toys. With the help of the local radio stations, newspapers, etc., we collected hundreds of toys."

In the years since, Mr. Anderson said, Keystone Kops Toys for Tots has provided toys for thousands of children whose parents were unable to.

Gifts of toys must be new, unwrapped and in the original store packaging.

The toys will be given out Dec. 23 at the Civic Center in Alamogordo. Anyone is welcome to participate.

Sergeant Schuster encourages anyone with questions to call him at 572-3434. Mr. Anderson also invites those with questions to call him at 921-2607 or e-mail wallyb@zianet.com.