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Toy drive reaches new heights

By By Matthew Nascone
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was not the only one with a nose so bright Saturday morning.
DeeDra Kelley and Daniel White took to the rooftop of Fred's on Lindberg Avenue to collect toys for children in need of a special treat this Christmas. Kelley, from the Atmore Disaster Response Team, and White, a member of the IAFF local firefighters union 4101, went atop Fred's at 9 a.m., and did not come down until 3:30 p.m.
And the only reason they came down was because the Ford F350 Dooley was packed to the brim with toys.
"It was great to see that truck fully loaded," Kelley said. "We had an abundance of toys."
The number of toys and value of those toys was not ready when the Advance went to print, but it was known that $315.55 was collected from patrons on the sidewalk.
Members of the local firefighters' union were on the ground to collect the toys and money. Families in need of assistance can swing by Joey's Furniture to pick up an application for donation.
The deadline for applications is Friday, Dec. 15 and applications received after that date will not be considered.
When all the families in Atmore have been taken care of, the remainder of the toys will go to the White Christmas Program.
"The White Christmas Program is a division of the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program out of north Baldwin County," Atmore fireman Jeremy Blackmon said. "They serve the north Baldwin County and west Escambia County areas. As of this week they already had 300 applications for children in need this Christmas."
Blackmon and his fellow firemen are coordinating this year's toy drive as a way to support the White Christmas Program as well as local children. The union is coordinating the event this year, but Kelley realizes this would not be possible without the community.
"We would like to thank Fred's for the use of the building, the Atmore community for their donations and Arby's for donating lunch on Saturday," she said. "And we would like to thank Emilie Mims and the rest of the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce for donating some toys."
Firefighters from the local union present at the event were, Lavon Parham, union president, Daniel White, union vice-president and Jeremy Blackmon, union secretary/treasurer. Kelley and Jennifer Stanley, from ADRT, also helped collect toys.
The Atmore Advance editor, Janet Little Cooper, contributed to this story.