80,000 Toys Delivered to Fort Jackson
COLUMBIA. S.C. (WOLO) — “If there is one thing a parent never wants to tell their child it’s, I’m sorry couldn’t get you what you wanted for Christmas or I couldn’t get you anything for Christmas,” says Sergeant Robert Barthel, Squad Leader of the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Jackson. Sergeant Robert Barthel is looking forward to this Christmas. “I get to watch my children open presents, I get to see the smiles on their faces,” says Sgt. Barthel. That joy will be possible in part by this event put on by Operation Homefront of South Carolina, an organization Barthel volunteers with. “To see that people are helping in this way, it’s unbelievable,” says Sgt. Barthel. Barthel started volunteering not long after he was injured in an IED blast in Iraq back in 2008. “If i have high visibility because of my injury, then I need to use it to try and help pay it forward and do everything I can to help other soldiers,” says Barthel. Wednesday, he did just that. 80,000 toys were delivered to Fort Jackson, all donated by Dollar Tree. Five hundred families registered for the event all of whom will now have something to put under the Christmas tree. Families that include, Ahlaynna Byrd’s, who knows exactly what she wants for Christmas. “A blue doggie,” says Ahlaynna. At just 3 years old, Ahlaynna will spend Christmas without her dad, for the very first time. He isn’t scheduled to come home until October. “She does ask a lot of questions, and she asked if Daddy would be home for Christmas,” says Christy Byrd, Ahlaynna’s Mom. But Wednesday, Ahlaynna along with her Mom, had something to smile about. “I love my toys,” says Ahlaynna. She even had the chance to meet Santa. Sgt. Barthel says he hopes Wednesday’s event will help more military families have a Merry Christmas, this year. “The Christmas spirit is out there…there will be smiles, there’s going to be a lot of love this year,” says Sgt. Barthel.