Christmas comes early for DeWitt Township families

Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 10:09 PM EST
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DEWITT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - The DeWitt Township Fire department hosted its first community toy drive in honor of fallen Sergeant Bill Darnell.

“Bill was very much into children’s events and loved his kids and other kids,” said Chief Mike Gute. “He was always part of the Shop for the Hero program; always taking little kids shopping at Meijer. So, this is our way to kind of honor him, his memory, and to keep things going with kids.”

COVID -19 claimed the life of Sergeant Darnell on November 4 this year. That’s when the First Responder’s Children’s Foundation reached out to Chief Mike Gute to sponsor the toy drive and help keep his mission alive.

“They provided us 8 pallets of toys that were delivered on Friday here to DeWitt Township Fire department, and then we’re giving these toys out to anybody in the community that wants to bring their kids by and select a gift,” he said. “And with a nice variety of toys for children of different ages, parents say they’re thankful and hope the toy drive continues next year. It’s a blessing to be able to come out and get some toys for our kids.”

Chief Gute says the goal is to place every toy in the hands of a child.

“Whatever is left we’re gonna donate to Sparrow pediatric units and things like that, and then some homeless shelters that may have children there, and women’s shelters,” he said.

Although he’s uncertain on whether or not there will be a toy drive again next year, Chief Gute says he’d love for this to be the start of a new tradition.

“We care about the community, we care about families, we care about children. We put a smile on a child’s face and send them on their way, that makes us feel real good,” he said.

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