Toys train delivers smiles

B y Matthew Saari

Nearly 300 children had their Christmas brightened more than a little Sunday morning when the 2017 Marine Corps Reserve Dunkin Donuts Amtrak Norfolk Southern Holiday Train pulled into the Whitehall Amtrak station, with much fanfare.
“Just the train itself is a nice thing to witness,” said American Legion adjutant Jim Lafayette. “With the economics of the area being what they are, we just try to help where we can.”
The number of children has remained steady since last year as has the level of community support.
Keeping with the spirit of giving, Whitehall police chief Ernie Bassett allowed his officers to grow facial hair to raise funds for the program. By the end of the month the department had raised $270 for Toys for Tots.
Additionally, Steven J. Mastrovich, a Whitehall alumnus, donated $1,000 to the American Legion specifically for the program earlier this year.
“The Class of 1965 donated over $1,000,” Lafayette said. “There are a lot of individual donations – people are very generous.”
Although the weather was chilly and the skies were filled with gray, low-hanging clouds, precipitation held off as a sizeable crowd gathered at the station to eagerly await the Amtrak train.
At 10:55 a.m. overly eager kids craning their necks to catch the first glimpse of the train caught sight of the locomotive as it rounded the bend.
“Here it comes,” they shouted.

This is only a preview of the story published in the Whitehall Times. To read the full story, pick up a print copy of this week’s paper at the newsstand or read it online here.

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