The Darke County Fairgrounds is across the street from the Northern Miami Valley Chapter’s offices in Greenville, Ohio, and each year the chapter’s volunteers staff a booth at the Fair, offering patrons a chance to learn a thing or two about the Red Cross. They teach hands-only CPR to the adults and stop-drop-and-roll to the kids. They sign up volunteers and promote preparedness kits.
This year, however, they began something new. Executive Director Lynne Gump purchased several hundred of those little green, plastic Army men that were popular toys back before technology took all of the fun out of being a kid. She placed them on the Red Cross table with a sign encouraging people to take one as a reminder to remember those who are serving or have served in our nation’s military.
With the proximity to Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the Air National Guard unit in Springfield, the chapter’s six counties have a large contingent of veterans and active military members. In Darke County alone, volunteers made nearly 1,200 visits to veterans in 2015. So the military appreciation is already high.
By the end of the Fair, the chapter gave away 315 of the toy soldiers, which translates into a lot of thoughts and prayers for those who serve or served.