Scouts love to help and members of Dallas Boy Scout Troop 281 spend part of their Christmas party each year collecting and packing carloads of wrapped toys for less fortunate children. The toys are then distributed by the Marine reserve unit at the Wyoming barracks.
Playing the Santa role is easy for Jared Casaldi, of Sweet Valley, and Matthew Reynolds, who said that packing toys in the Marine vans was loads of fun, especially knowing that the toys would go to people who had little money or whose parents had been laid off from work this year.
This year, besides the annual Toys for Tots collection, there was an extra project for the Scouts to handle.
About 100 Christmas stockings packed by Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from Dallas Troop and Pack 281 will find their way to Kuwait for Christmas. They will be sent directly to 1st lieutenant Paul Luksa, a 2003 Dallas High School graduate and former Eagle Scout from the troop, who is stationed there.
Rebecca Oley, a mother whose two sons, David and Matthew, packed some of the socks, says the Scouts were given empty socks with a list of suggestions for their contents. Things like candy, drink mixes, chips, dried meats, snacks, toothpaste and toothbrushes come in handy in the desert. The Scouts had no trouble coming up with meaningful and fun items for the stockings, she said.
Brothers Ryan and Jake Nita, of Shavertown, were very proud, knowing their hand-stuffed stockings would go to soldiers serving in the Iraq desert.
According to Ed Luksa, Paul's father, it's surprising that so many men serving overseas get few packages from home. Luksa is in touch almost daily by phone with his son who says he feels privileged to have received so many packages from the Back Mountain community.
This is the second 14-month tour of duty for Paul, who serves with the PA National Guard 109th Army Infantry Reserve Unit guarding a base on the Iraq border with Kuwait. Ed Luksa says this shipment of Christmas stockings will endear his son to the troops and local people, with whom American troops share their presents.
They're really going to love him over there, he said.
About 100 Christmas stockings packed by Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from Dallas Troop an Pack 281 will find their way to Kuwait for Christmas. They will be sent directly to 1st lieutenant Paul Luksa, a 2003 Dallas High School graduate and former Eagle Scout from the troop, who is stationed there.