Donated toys shipped to Iraq

Maj. Tim Diley is stationed in Iraq.

Toys from Plain City and Hilliard are part of a unique partnership involving the war in Iraq.

Maj. Tim Diley, 33, is stationed in eastern Iraq with a U.S. Army unit designated to coach, teach and mentor an Iraqi military brigade to take over security operations for themselves once American troops pull out of the area.

Diley, a 1993 graduate of Hilliard High School, is now in his 11th year of military service and was an assistant professor of military science at Xavier University in Cincinnati prior to deployment to Iraq in March.

“When Tim got to Iraq, he saw that the unit could use some sporting equipment for recreation during their off-duty time and wrote letters back home to some local businesses for help,” said his wife, Melissa (Hicks) Diley, also a 1993 graduate of Hilliard High School. Melissa’s parents, Gene and Mildred Hicks, live on Carter Road and are members of Cornerstone Church of Christ in Plain City.

KB Toys at Tuttle Crossing Mall answered Diley’s request and set up a donation jar to raise money. Word of the donation jar spread back to Cornerstone Church. By June, KB Toys had collected $500.

 Diley’s unit in Iraq.

Melissa Diley said the amount was more than the cost of the requested equipment.

“We bought footballs, soccer balls, coloring books and crayons, some remote control vehicle toys, school supplies, plastic horseshoe games, Barbie dolls and other items that we knew the unit could use themselves or pass on to the children in Iraq,’’ Melissa Diley said.

The items filled six large boxes. The family searched for a way to ship the items to Maj. Diley in Iraq.

Kelly Hicks, principal at Plain City Elementary, provided the answer. Her husband, Gary, is Melissa’s cousin. Hicks put the family in touch with the American Legion Auxiliary in Hilliard which has a shipping agreement to troops with the local USO.

Melissa Diley said her husband’s unit received all six boxes of toys and sports equipment earlier this month. The unit saved some of the items for their own needs, but the majority of the shipment is being handed to Iraqi soldiers to pass out to the children of Iraq. 

“It’s a big step to help the Iraqi soldiers my husband’s unit is training to gain confidence with the people there and another step closer to turning security back to the people so that our American soldiers can come home,” Melissa said.

Diley and his unit are expected to be in Iraq until March 2009.

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