Sailor at Navy Hospital Beaufort organizes toy drive - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Beaufort sailor organizes toy drive

Donna Patrick Donna Patrick

The men and women in uniform give so much to our country and our communities. But one sailor from Naval Hospital Beaufort is going above the call of duty to help make Christmas a little brighter for children in the community who need it the most.

One room at the Branch Medical Clinic on Parris Island looks more like Santa's workshop with Navy volunteers wrapping all kinds of Christmas presents for children in the community.

"They love gifts. I love wrapping gifts and thought every little kid needs to have something to enjoy at Christmas," said HN Leslie Dixon.

HM1 Donna Patrick serves at Naval Hospital Beaufort and helped start the toy drive several years ago.

"I do it with another friend, Steve Curless," said Patrick. "We kind of got the idea after Hurricane Katrina went through New Orleans and we did a big fundraiser to raise over $5,000 for the victims. We thought it would be nice to do something for the holidays.

It's a project near and dear to her heart.

"When I was in the 6th grade my house burnt down a couple of weeks before Christmas. It was honestly the best Christmas I ever had because my community came together, providing us with a place to live and toys. It was a nice Christmas," said Patrick. "So I promised if I ever got in a place where I could help others I would."

Over the years, this project has continued to grow and this year they're planning to deliver presents to more children than ever before.

So far, they've raised over $2,000 to purchase toys and have had hundreds of toys donated, hoping to make Christmas brighter for 80 children in the area.

"When I first set the goal of 80 I didn't know if we could do it but people have just come out of the woodwork," said Patrick. "I have great volunteers, civilians and military that step up to make it happen."

While this is certainly quite an undertaking, she says its all worth it.

"It brings tears to your eyes when you see someone say I didn't know how I was going to have Christmas, thanks so much," said Patrick.

Patrick says she continues to get calls for more children to be added to the list and more presents continue to come in.

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