LoCI inmates donate to Marine Corps toy drive

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Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick

Corporal James Crum (far left) and Lance Corporal Joseph Leary (far right) accept an $1,100 check for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys For Tots from the Seven Steps Foundation at London Correctional Institution. Representing Seven Steps are: (starting second from left) inmate Jerome Barrett, treasurer; Sgt. Leonard Gilliam, a correctional counselor, Seven Steps advisor, and former Marine; and Leonard Fugate, Seven Steps president. 

Service to community met service to country in a check presentation Nov. 13 at the London Correctional Institution (LoCI).

LoCI inmates in the Seven Steps Foundation sold doughnuts to raise money for a charitable cause. They chose to donate the money, a total of $1,100, to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program.

"There are about 30 in our group, but the general population of the institution purchased the Krispy Kremes. That’s why we were able to give such a big donation," said inmate Leonard Fugate, Seven Steps president.

"Our group trains guys to help themselves based on the seven steps of freedom," said Jerome Barrett, Seven Steps treasurer. "The idea is to retool our thinking about how we value our freedom and that change must come from within."

Making an effort to give back to the community in a charitable way is all part of the program, Barrett added.

Lance Corporal Joseph Leary and Corporal James Crum were happy to accept the inmates’ donation. Both men are members of Lima Co. and have served in Iraq. They are from Columbus.

According to Leary, the U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Reserve Units, League Detachments and community organizations around the country dedicate October, November and December to the Toys For Tots program. On the days the toys are distributed, the lines of cars are long.

"It’s really cool to hand out all of the presents to the kids who can’t afford it," Crum said.

For more information about the Columbus area Marine Toys For Tots collection, call GySgt Shawn Delgado at 614-492-2893 or go to www.toysfortots.org.

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