2nd Lt. Chris Berezansky
1ABCT Public Affairs UPAR
Participants in the 10th BEB, 1ABCT, “Toy Ruck” put their donations in the boxes at the end of the march. So many toys were donated that the organizers had to bring in extra bags to collect them all. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Chris Berezansky)
10th Engineers host Toy Ruck
The 10th Brigade Engineer Battalion had a greater than anticipated turnout as they hosted their first ever “Toy Ruck” on Fort Stewart.
The march began in the pre-dawn hours on Nov. 30 with the hopes of collecting toys to help bring Holiday cheer to the less-fortunate in the local community.
“This was an idea our company came up with to have a fun toy drive effect people in a massive way around the community,” said First Sgt. John Krauss, Co. C, 10th BEB. Krauss was a key organizer of the event and took on the roles as master of ceremonies and disc jockey, during the march.
Music played over the loud speakers as participants started showing up; one dozen, then a couple dozen, and eventually hundreds of Soldiers and Families from across Fort Stewart. When the ruck finally began, the formation of Soldiers and Family members stood in mass along West 6th Street on Fort Stewart dressed for the occasion wearing everything from elf and Santa suits, to “ugly sweaters”.
With rucks secured to their backs, the battalion and company color bearers moved to the front of the group of participants and the ruck march was underway. There were bags of all sizes, filled with toys on every person. The ruck march covered a distance of about two miles in all. At the end of the ruck, each participant awaited their turn to empty out their bag of toys.
When the bags started to be emptied into the large boxes set aside for this part of the event, it was quickly realized that the amount of toys that were being donated was drastically underestimated. After about half of the participants emptied their bags, the collection boxes began to breach their brims.
The organizers were not the only ones surprise by the volume of toys being donated.
"It was crazy how quickly the boxes filled up with toys,” said Spc. Julio Arango, Co. A, 10th BEB. “I didn't know where the rest would go.”
In the end, the organizers filled dozens of plastic bags to help move the countless toys that wouldn’t fit into the containers. All of the toys were loaded up into multiple vehicles that would later bring them to local charities around the Fort Stewart area.
“The support for this event was outstanding and it was easy to get support from the leadership within the Battalion,” Krauss said. “When the leaders believed in the event, the junior soldiers believed in it too.”