Toys for Tots Honors U-Haul GM in New York

Jun 28, 2019

With thousands of toys to distribute last December, the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Greater Rochester needed cost-effective transportation. So they turned to U-Haul Moving and Storage of Greece for assistance.

From the moment they entered the U-Haul store, general manager Heather Wagner was there to help.

“I immediately emailed Todd Schnitzer, president of U-Haul Company of Western New York, expressing my desire to help out Toys for Tots in any way possible,” Wagner says. “With time, effort and lots of hard work, we were able to provide two 15-foot U-Haul trucks.”

In recognition of her outstanding efforts with the 2018 Marine Toys for Tots Program in upstate New York, Wagner received the Marine Corps Reserve Commander’s Award.

The award praised the GM for her instrumental role in “bringing the joy of Christmas to America’s less-fortunate children.”

The MCCC, Marine Corps League, Cooper Marines and the Holley Hellhounds provided more than 67,000 toys last December. The gifts went to some 26,000 children in eight counties across upstate New York. This initiative was part of the national Marine Toys for Tots Program. A Marine Corps major started the program in 1947 as a way to provide Christmas gifts to children in need.

A time for giving

Evan at distribution center
Wagner’s son, Evan, at the USMC Toys for Tots distribution center.

“Toys for Tots’ mission is so heartwarming and inspiring,” Wagner says. “During the donation and distribution process, my 12-year-old son Evan and I were able to ‘shop’ for a family. It was truly eye-opening. When Evan learned that the gifts he was helping to pick out for the family would likely be their only presents that year, he was absolutely astounded.

“I’m so grateful to be able to show my son the enormous difference that U-Haul makes in our community.”

Going above and beyond

“Heather’s desire to help out demonstrates her desire to always go above and beyond,” Schnitzer states. “She is a true leader, and constantly looks for opportunities to help out those in need.”

“Without the U-Haul trucks that Heather provided, it would have been very difficult,” adds MCCC chaplain Gary Sauer. “All of our partner organizations are volunteer-run and have no trucks available for this monumental tasks. Without Heather’s compassionate assistance, we would have had to rely on our personal vehicles to distribute more than 67,000 toys.”

Wagner encourages everyone to look for ways to serve, no matter the time of year.

“If you’re given the opportunity to make a difference, go for it!” she exclaims. “You may think that it won’t make much of an impact, but you won’t know if you don’t try. I’m very grateful that I did.”

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