Legion Riders Post 471 provide toys for youth

December 18, 2012

Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

ROSEMOUNT — American Legion Riders Post 471 collaborated with First Apostolic Church in Rosemount to host a Christmas toy give away Monday.

Riders came out to First Apostolic Church to provide gifts for children of a group called GRACE, which stands for Grandparents, Raising, and Caring Everyday.

President of the American Legion Riders Post 471 Mark Campbell said his organization enjoys working with the grandparents and helping to assist them as much as they can.

“These are grandparents raising their grandchildren, and we have been working with them for several months now. On different occasions we bought them some coats, shoes, and now Christmas is coming and we want to make sure they have a good Christmas,” Campbell said.

Tom Rayburn, associate minister at First Apostolic Church and director of the Apostolic Coalition, said he is grateful for the church and Legion Riders working together.

Rayburn said the GRACE group formed as a result of drug addiction that has plagued many lives in the community.

“We met some of the Legion Riders this past summer at an event that we were hosting in the park. Some of their members came over and helped us out, and we have been working together every since then,” Rayburn said.

The children were granted the opportunity to sit upon Santa’s lap before they were handed a gift. Excitement was evident among the children.

Bonnie Bertram, a grandparent who is raising two of her great grandchildren, said seeing the children’s response is what makes the event so special.

“Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces. These are grandparents trying to raise their grandchildren. All of the children received nice gifts, and these are things that they would not have gotten. This is just wonderful,” Bertram said.

Bertram said American Legion Riders Post 471 has been a blessing to the children and grandparents in her group.

“We have been out in the community, collecting money for a long time. We raised money at our Legion Post, and distributed it out to different organizations for children effected by drugs in the community,” Campbell said.

Campbell said the event is one of a series of distributions that the American Legion Riders will conduct.

“We served 14 kids today, and last Friday we went down to the Salvation Army and served a group there, and we will be back down there this Friday,” Campbell said.

Campbell said having the opportunity to serve in this capacity is very important to the Legion Riders.

“It means everything to be able to give something back. It is not all from us, the community has been great in giving us donations,” Campbell said.

The evening ended with dinner provided by the church for the youth and their grandparents.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@heartlandpublications.com