Seafarers Step Up for Santa’s Castle


Annual Effort in Tacoma Benefits American Military Families


February 2012


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Seafarers in Tacoma, Wash., continued their tradition of service and goodwill late last year with another strong showing at the annual toy drive. SIU members donated new toys worth more than $5,000 to Santa’s Castle, an organization that distributes toys to the children of American servicemen and women who are deployed overseas. The toys included bicycles, skateboards, musical instruments, portable DVD players, and much more.


More than 100 Seafarers, their families, and several special guests were on hand at the hall to present the gifts to Santa’s Castle Director Linda Evans, including a representative from Rep. Adam Smith’s (D-Wash.) office and Congressional candidate Denny Heck.


“Once again, I have to say what a privilege it is for me to host this event and I’m grateful for the opportunity to say thank you on behalf of Seafarers to our war heroes here at Joint Base Lewis McChord for their service,” said Port Agent Joe Vincenzo, who also acknowledged the significant contribution of Seafarers from aboard the Global Sentinel.


Rank-and-file members based out of the Tacoma hall are known for their devotion to lending a helping hand to their community, and the most recent toy drive couldn’t have been successful without their help.


“Some people can give and some people can’t, and I’m one of those who can,” said Chief Cook Charles Atkins. “It’s always a blessing to help others. Sometimes, especially during Christmastime, kids need and deserve to be happy.”


Atkins, who has donated toys for several years, was finally able to participate in person this year, giving his time and his skills in the kitchen.


“Next year, if I’m home, I would be proud to take time and help out,” added Atkins. “Everyone should be happy and feel blessed at Christmastime. I really look forward to putting the time in and helping someone every year.”


Both Vincenzo and Atkins say their efforts to show their gratitude to American’s warfighters are an essential part of the SIU spirit.


“Giving back is part of who we are,” said Vincenzo. “I expect that we will continue on this course as long as we’re all willing and able.”


Atkins agreed.


“Being an SIU member gives me the opportunity to help,” he said. “It’s not easy. It takes a lot of hard work to put something like this together, but it’s worth it. It’s not just good for me, but it’s good for everybody to pitch in.”



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