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2007 Toys For Tots Wrap Up And Plans For 2008 Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
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MCL Det 1083
Semper Fi
Well it has been a few weeks since I wrote anything because I have been operating on empty each night. My wife found me so useless while I was working on our local Toys For Tots campaign (16 county AOR) that she found time to visit our daughter in Texas. They only had a couple of days together but my sister-in-law was able to meet my wife down there and they had a great week of prayer and renovation, while I put a great deal of time in trying to be sure that many children who would not have had anything for Christmas got something under their tree.
As I went about in this season of giving, I became even more aware that God cannot be out given because He gave His only Son to save us all from a pending Hell. Brothers and sisters, it really does exist and I want no part of it. I am so thankful that Christmas as we know it was but a precursor for Easter. There is "Triumph Only Through Tragedy" it seems.

Any of you who want to read about our successful effort in the Northeast Georgia Area Of Operations, Click on "Read More." There is also a short message on my plans for the coming year.


Well another "Toys For Tots" Campaign has come and gone around here and with a little help from our friends, we Marines have met the challenge once again.

This years goal of 25,000 toys for our 16 county area of responsibility here in Northeast Georgia seemed out of reach just six days before we were due to close out collection and distribution centers (One in Hall County and one in Clarke County) because we had just reached a total of 9,000 toys. But, with the help of Winterville's Mayor, who spoke to a Banner Herald reporter, an article was published that sent a renewed spirit of giving through out the local area. Wes Sargenson of WXIA-TV Atlanta also ran one of his "Wes side storis" on our shortages and the collection boxes seemed to fill up overnight. With the continued support of local radio stations and personalities, and the efforts of our collection staff of five people (two in Hall County and Three for the remaining 15 counties), the Hall county site collected and distributed between 6,000 and 7,000 toys while the Athens site collected and out processed nearly 20,000 toys by the time our doors were closed.

M/Sgt John Frost worked many long hours including weekends coordinating this campaign and deserves a hearty "Well Done, Marine!" from a good many folks who will experience a Merry Christmas because of his efforts. MGy/Sgt Kelly Roberts also responded smartly to the call, assisting M/Sgt Frost and manning the collection van on many occasions. Retired CWO4 Ray Fairman began placing boxes at the more distant collection sites on November second and finally picked up the last of the toy collections on Dec 24th at about 2000. He logged over 2886 miles on his 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 while personally bringing in over 4485 toys from the 15 Northeast Georgia Counties assigned. "Gunner Fairman is also known as Colonel Fairman and serves as the Chaplain for the Winterville Police Department, where he also assigned by Police Chief Mike Vizzini to assist Winterville Mayor Jim Mercer with the Mayor's Motorcade which collected gifts for the patients at Eastern Regional State Hospital in Augusta. Chaplain Fairman and Mayor Mercer delivered those gifts on December 12th. Additionally Ray serves as the Adjutant for the Joseph Schmittou Detachment #1083 of the Marine Corps League which meets at the AMVETS Post #10 on Winterville Road at 1900 on the 4th Thursday of each month.

In closing I want to thank everyone who participated in this years campaign. The Volunteers, Those who were "volunteered" and those who donated to this years campaign. If it weren't for all of you, there would be many a child who would not have experienced the joy of Christmas Morning.

God put our eyes in the front of our heads so we could focus on the future and leave the past behind so my wish for the new year is that all of you continue to experience the joy imparted to others by placing their needs above your own. I learned long ago that you can't out give God, even on a battle scarred trail.

Until The next Toys For Tots year, God bless you all and thank you once again.

Now for my next years plans.

This year (2008) I have been talking with the friend of mine that hosts my website and he is going to upgrade my site and I am planning to publish my next book on Leadership, a chapter at a time every two weeks (Hopefully) another chapter will appear. I am going to call it "Leadership Lessons From God". I hope it will be well received, I plan to try and do an additional article on the off weeks. I don't know how soon I'll start but Jim assures me it won't be too many weeks off.

I am also on a volunteer staff for the Christian Law Enforcement Retreats in NM in April and NC in October. They are getting a new website as well and it also should be on line soon.

I have at least two training conferences to attend this year, one in August in Georgia (Georgia Law Enforcement Chaplains) and the School Resource Officer Conference in Scottsdale. I hope to see many of you there.

There are several opportunities to teach on Character, Ethics and Leadership that may come to fruition this year that are in the review stage. My Pastor has informed me there will be an occasional opportunity to stand in front of the congregation during 2008 as well.

I am also going to begin working on my third Book (Working Title: I and II Timothy: Guidebook For God's Platoon Leaders.) Which I hope to have ready for the publisher my The end of summer.

Oh Yes, I also am discussing taking on some additional chaplain's duties for a nearby sheriff's office.

I need some prayer, that I don't start to take on too many responsibilities that God does not want me to reach for. I do have that tendency.

Last Let me request that you pray for my son, who is heading to Iraq this year and for his wife and unborn child. Please pray for health, safety and God's protection for them all as God' guides their steps through their future. You might add my daughter, son-in-law and wife to that list as they also have to put up with me and all my idiosyncrasies. Sometimes it seems like I am the only one who can hear God's cadence for my life.

Most of all I want to dedicate all my energy to serving Our Risen Savior. It is not for me to be anything But "FAT". That is Faithful, Available and Teachable.

Being FAT is always difficult, especially since I have heeded my doctors advice and come down from 245 lbs to 213 lbs in the last six-weeks, but God doesn't want people who want to do things for Him, He wants people who will let Him do things through them.

Its often hard for us cops and military personnel to go through a "Change of Command" when we are relinquishing "Command". It may help to remember that His ways are not our ways and that is why He never gave us command anyway, He allowed us to accept a position of responsibility and leadership. So turning things over to Him at anytime is only returning things we have been stewarding.

Enough for now, but I'll be back soon I hope with more "Sounding Off" for Christ this year. Article Manager module by by George! Software.




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