Glenwood Springs nonprofit Operation Vacation collects toys for soldiers’ children |

Glenwood Springs nonprofit Operation Vacation collects toys for soldiers’ children

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Bob Johnson sees no reason that Operation Vacation needs to just bring military families to Glenwood Springs for a weekend retreat. So he found another way to make the holidays a little more enjoyable.

This is the third year for the Glenwood Springs Board of Realtors Operation Vacation Holiday Toy Drive benefiting the families of deployed soldiers at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs.

“The last two years have been really good turnouts, and we are hoping to have another good one this year,” said Operation Vacation Founder Bob Johnson.

The previous toy drives have gathered momentum leading to Johnson being more personally involved last year and handing out gifts himself to children at the base. It’s just another way of saying thanks to the nation’s soldiers.

“Operation Vacation is focused on the families and the kids,” Johnson said. “The soldiers may not have the extra money to buy the toys their kids want, this is just something to give them a little extra at Christmas.”

Last year, Johnson drove to Fort Carson in a Chevrolet Suburban, donated by Berthod Motors, stuffed floor to roof with toys.

“Last year we were able to make a lot of kids really happy,” Johnson said.

The toy donations come from Roaring Fork Valley and Garfield County residents. The toys should be new or unwrapped for kids from ages infant to 16 years old. Gifts can be toys, gift cards or checks made payable to Operation Vacation and can be dropped off at either Vicki Lee Green Realtors in Glenwood Springs, Mason Morse in Carbondale, or Real Estate Out West in Rifle. The deadline for dropping off gifts is Tuesday, Dec. 9.

While toys are always a good option, Johnson said that they often get monetary donations that prove just as useful in many ways.

“I try to get creative, not everyone has money to give,” Johnson said. “But it is easier for a single guy who doesn’t want to go out and buy a toy, he can write a check and we’ll go purchase a gift.”

Johnson said that cash donations go to local stores in the downtown core for gifts. Last year Operation Vacation spent $1,000 in downtown shops on gifts and delivered more than $6,000 worth of toys to the children of deployed soldiers.

Johnson will travel again this year to Fort Carson on Saturday, Dec. 13, and distribute the toys.

For more information on the Toy Drive, contact Bob Johnson at 379-7459.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

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