MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR. Calif. --
Staff Sgt. Patrick Russ was named the Toys for Tots Western States Region Coordinator of the Year for 2008.
As coordinator at 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine division in San Diego, Russ oversees the collection and distribution of toys for the San Diego area. In 2008, he oversaw the collection and distribution of 185,000 toys to 57,000 kids.
In 2008, Russ set up 185 collection events throughout the city to include one at a San Diego Chargers game and the USS Midway Museum.
Growing up to his father singing the “Marines’ Hymn” made it an easy decision for him to join the Corps. The San Diego native left for recruit training March 25, 1996.
Russ attended his first Toys for Tots event when he was a private first class. Thirteen years later he is now a coordinator for the program.
“Staff Sgt. Russ’ compassion and dedication to all the families who seek assistance from the Toys for Tots program is what sets him above the rest,” said Staff Sgt. Holly J. Long a material chief for Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting. “He has helped to bring smiles to so many children. I’ve worked with him for two years now and Staff Sgt. Russ is the real deal.”
Russ works with many organizations to get toys to children who need them, including foster homes, youth centers, churches, after school groups and homeless shelters.
“It’s amazing, Marines who work 16-hour days still find time to volunteer to go to an event,” said Russ. “They do it all for the kids.”
“I see many Marines who got their Christmas toys from Toys for Tots and now they volunteer to give back to the program,” said Russ.
Russ gives much of the credit for his success as coordinator to the volunteers and the Marines that he works with.
“I didn’t just get this award because of my work alone, it’s the San Diego Marines that volunteered and helped out with the program,” said Russ.
For volunteer opportunities beginning after October, contact Russ at 858-537-8066. For information on the program visit the Toys for Tots Web site at www.toysfortots.org.