_ The American Legion and the Marine Corps League collected 4,709 Toys For Tots. This year, 1,694 children received four toys each.
Last year, 1,873 children received three toys each. The money collected this year increased from $7,530 in 2007 to $10,232.
I had the privilege to be with the Port Angeles High School NJROTC cadets when they made a toy buy. I pushed a cart and they chose toys - we purchased $2,000 worth in 20 minutes! Thanks to all of you who supported this effort so all kids could have a good Christmas.
_ The American Legion is asking for donations to bring the Clan Gordon Pipe Band to march in the Irrigation Festival parade with the veterans' groups.
No one showed any interest in the Burns Supper that I talked about in my December column, so I gave up that idea.
If you would like to contribute, please send a check to the American Legion Post 62, P.O. Box 1607, Sequim, WA 98382, and mark it for the Bagpipe Band.
_ The Department of Veterans Affairs is urging those veterans and family members now receiving paper checks in the mail to please sign up to get the money directly deposited to a bank.
Call the VA toll-free at 800-333-1795 or enroll online at Web site www.GoDirect.org.
Direct deposit will avoid problems with mail delays or theft. I have had direct deposit of my military pay, then my retired pay, since the day it first was offered. I have never had a problem.
It is great to know that if you are traveling, moving, sick, there is bad weather, whatever, your money will be in your account for your use.
_ The American Legion will host the Four Chaplains Remembrance Ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at the post on East Prairie Street.
All are welcome to attend and hear the story of the torpedoing of the U.S.A.T. Dorchester on Feb. 3, 1943, and the four chaplains who perished after giving their life jackets to others.
This act symbolizes for all Americans, and for all time, the unity of our nation no matter what the faith, color or creed of the person.
The Chapel of Four Chaplains in Valley Forge, Pa., has three altars - Catholic, Jewish and Protestant. Its memorials and furnishings bear forever the names of the men of different faiths who died as brothers-in-arms for the freedom of their fellows and for generations yet unborn.
_ I hope you made a New Year's resolution to pick up toys for kids and articles for the veterans' gift store throughout the year so when I ask for donations in November you will be ready.
Another good resolution is to put Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies on your calendar now, so you can attend and honor our veterans.
Last, how about watching for things that can be given out at the stand-downs that will be held in Forks, Port Townsend and Port Angeles for our homeless veterans.
Contributors: DAR, Regent Kayellen Garrison, firstname.lastname@example.org; American Legion, Lorri Gilchrist, email@example.com; VFW Commander, Roger Padie, firstname.lastname@example.org; MOAA, President Jim McEntire, email@example.com; Marine Corps League, Jake Fish, firstname.lastname@example.org.