|Here we would like to hand recognition to the lifetime involvement of the late Helon and Joe W. Stewart to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
At the age of seventeen, the Stewart’s family’s father, Joe W. Stewart joined the U.S Marine Corps in order to serve his country during World War II. On his return from Persia, where he guarded the US Embassy; Joe was assigned to the Marine Toys for Tots campaign.
|Marine Toys for Tots is a charitable organization that gathers new, unwrapped toys from donors throughout the months of October –December. These presents are then distributed to local, underprivileged children as presents for Christmas. The philosophy of the charity is that all children, regardless of personal circumstances should have gifts to open on Christmas Day. Toys for Tots believe that each present received by a child will give them a sense of love and hope so that they will mature into responsible and patriotic adults.
Marine Toys for Tots was first established in 1947, by Colonel William L. Hendricks and his wife, who, along with several Marine reserves collected and circulated over five thousand toys for disadvantaged children in the Los Angeles Area. This campaign was so successful that they decided to open an official organization for the cause. One year later, in 1948, Marine Toys for Tots went nationwide, with Joe becoming one of the original soldiers to volunteer, based on the east coast in Boston, MA.
Even as Joe progressed through the ranks he would still dedicate his time to fundraising and collecting toys every winter. In 1954 Joe married the family’s’ mother, Helon and together they continued their charitable work for many years, well into retirement.