Flag football tournament scores touchdown for tots
By SrA Peter Dean, 107th Airlift Wing
/ Published November 25, 2008
Niagara Falls, N.Y. -- Fourth and long, win or loose it didn't matter much for the men and women participating in this year's Toys for Tots Flag Football Tournament held Nov. 14, at the Fort Niagara State Park, as the tots were the real winners of the day. Teams from local military, Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies were invited to play for bragging rights and the opportunity to help children in need.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Teffer, U.S. Coast Guard, Buffalo Station, N.Y. and Petty Officer 3rd Class Jason Ensweiler, U.S. Coast Guard, Niagara Station, N.Y., worked together to plan, organize and run the tournament.
"We wanted to do something for the less fortunate during the holiday season," said Petty Officer Teffer.
After much research and discussion they decided to contact the Marines that run the Toys for Tots program.
"The Marines already had the logistics worked out," said Petty Officer Ensweiler, "and it's a very worthy cause," he added.
Toys for Tots was started in 1947 by Maj. Bill Hendricks, Marine Corps Reservist, when his wife crochet a doll to give to an organization that donated toys to the less fortunate during the Christmas season. Such an organization did not exist at that time. Maj. Hendricks then decided to gather all the Marines that he could to collect and distribute toys to less fortunate children. The following year Toys for Tots was officially established by the Marines. To date more than 19 million toys have been distributed to more than 9 million needy children.
The 107th Airlift Wing, Security Force Squadron responded to the call with a full squad. They showed up with toys in hand and game face on. They were ready to play ball. There where no officials to keep score, time or call penalties. At one point during the game the unofficial time keeper couldn't be found, she was off getting lunch for her children. But no matter it was all in good fun, the teams were all playing for one common goal, the kids.
Although only five teams played in what will be an annual event so many toys were donated that the Marines had to be called in, said Petty Officer Teffer.
"The 107th brought a pickup truck load of toys with them," said Petty Officer Ensweiler, "with the other toys, we don't have the room to transport them," he said.
"For the first year I'm happy with the turn out," said Petty Officer Teffer, "next year we'll do it again and it will be bigger and better," he said.