STEUBENVILLE - Jim Marquis and Jason Hanlin carefully pushed their shopping carts through the toy aisles at Wal-Mart Monday looking for certain gifts for patients who will spend Christmas at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
"Every year we try to do something for kids. I saw the article about Trooper Ed Weigand and Dispatcher Diane Holubeck of the Ohio State Highway Patrol collecting toys for the kids in Children's Hospital and immediately called Jason who said he was thinking the same thing. We agreed this year we would buy new toys and donate them to the toy drive," explained Marquis, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 1.
So Marquis and Hanlon, vice president of FOP Lodge No. 1, spent nearly an hour Monday shopping for special gifts for special children.
SHOPPING FOR THE CHILDREN — Wal-Mart cashier Mamie Hershey prepares to check out the toys purchased Monday by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 1 for children at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Setting the toys on the register conveyor belt were, from left, Jim Marquis, president of the FOP Lodge No. 1, Justin Nicholson, Wal-Mart store manager and Jason Hanlin, vice president of the FOP Lodge No. 1. - Dave Gossett
"I know I wouldn't want my daughter in the hospital on Christmas and Jason wouldn't want his son spending Christmas in the hospital. So we are doing our part to help bring Christmas to the kids in Children's Hospital," said Marquis.
Holubeck and Weigand have been collecting the toys at the patrol's Steubenville and St. Clairsville posts for the past 10 years.
They normally use a small truck to deliver the toys because of the response from the public.
"Wal-Mart has been very cooperative with us this year. They have been absolutely great," noted Marquis.
"We will spend several hundred dollars today for these gifts. It is money we raise every year through our drawings and our oldies show. We bring the money in and then turn around and spend it for special causes like this," explained Hanlin.
Two men walking through the store stopped to thank the Steubenville police officers, "For everything you do all year and especially at Christmas."
"Hey, these walkie-talkies look pretty neat. Someone can talk to his buddy in the next room," commented Hanlin.
Marquis spent several minutes looking for puzzles and stuffed animals for small children who will wake up Christmas morning confined to a hospital bed.
"The stuffed animals have to have embroidered, no button eyes," advised Marquis.
"Excuse me. Can you tell me where the Play-Doh is?" Hanlin asked a passing store clerk.
"Every kid likes Play-Doh," he added.
And, of course they collected card games as well as Apples to Apples, Monopoly along with puzzles, toy cars, toys for toddlers and videos.
And the two police officers made a final stop to choose slippers for the female patients.
Anyone wishing to donate new toys can contact the St. Clairsville or Steubenville posts at 740-264-1641.
The St. Clairsville post also can be contracted at (740) 695-0915 or the Steubenville post at (740) 264-9432 during daily business hours for information about arranging to make a donation of toys and gifts.
"If we receive any more monetary donations I can come back to Wal-Mart this week to buy more toys. We want to help Ed and Diane make Christmas a little better this year for the kids at the hospital," said Marquis.