Depot employees unload trucks of toys for DHR children

Dec. 16—There was plenty of Christmas cheer at the Calhoun County Department of Human Resources Thursday morning during the annual Anniston Army Depot Christmas Cheer toy delivery.

For the last 29 years AAD employees have provided gifts for children at DHR.

A human chain of enthusiastic depot employees carried boxes from two large trucks of toys to a room inside where they will be distributed to the children by Christmas.

Chrissy Bolen, directorate secretary for emergency services at the depot, said the annual event is something the employees look forward to.

"We all came together as a family and sponsored 112 kids this year and we're delivering the presents today," Bolen said.

Teri Bailey, director of family and morale, welfare and recreation programs at the depot, said hundreds of depot employees helped bring this year's toy program to fruition.

"The end result is bringing holiday cheer, Christmas cheer to children who might not have had Christmas had it not been for the generosity of the workforce," Bailey said.

A watchful Santa stood close by taking mental notes of all the Christmas toys as depot commander Col. Eric McCoy helped pass the large boxes to the next person.

Anniston Mayor Jack Draper looked on as employees unloaded the trucks.

"This is fantastic, it's so important that we remember the reason for the season, this whole community is known for its philanthropic activities so just proud to be a part of this," the mayor said.

Calhoun County DHR director Courtney Clark said the toys will help make a special Christmas for the kids served by DHR.

"By bringing these gifts today, the depot is also delivering an important reminder of how much our community values these children," Clark said.

"We at the Calhoun County department of human resources are tremendously grateful for the depot's continued support. It will be exciting to see the joy on the faces of the children who receive these wonderful presents," she said.

After the last batch of toys were delivered, DHR and depot employees gathered for a Christmas feast.

McCoy told the crowd that service is the strength of the nation. Being able to give back and to connect with the American public is what makes the Army true and strong, he said, and the Christmas Cheer program is a great way for the depot to connect with the city of Anniston and DHR.

"It makes us stronger, it makes us more resilient, it makes us ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities of a new year," the colonel said.

McCoy thanked the many depot employees and families that made this year's Christmas Cheer a reality.

"We look forward to continuing fellowship and creating great memories this holiday season," he said.

Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.