The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

November 27, 2011

Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Toys for Tots campaign aiming for new heights

PITTSBURG, Kan. — It’s hard to say no to a Marine who phones with a humanitarian request — and respectfully calls you ma’am, to boot.

So this one’s for Master Gunnery Sgt. Lynden Lawson.

Considering that he started from nothing last year, Lawson made a significant difference in the lives of Pittsburg area children at Christmas.

After a year in Baghdad, Lawson retired in 2010 after 30 years in the Marines and moved to Pittsburg to join his wife, Kirstin Lawson, a teacher at Pittsburg State University.

He had assisted elsewhere with the Toys for Tots campaign — a national program the Marines started in 1947 — and after seeing the difference it made, he decided to implement it in our corner of the world.

His goal? To collect 200 toys for boys and girls in a community in which he’d lived for just a few months.

With the approval of Southeast Kansas Toys for Tots and the partnership of the Pittsburg Salvation Army and numerous area businesses, Lawson exceeded his goal in a jaw-dropping way.

“We collected more than 1,000 toys,” Lawson said.

But this year, he told me, he’s aiming even higher.

“They already have 1,500 kids signed up for toys through the Salvation Army for the distribution on Dec. 15-16,” he said last week. “I’m setting my goal at 1,200 toys.”

He’ll combine what he collects with toy campaigns by Angel Tree and KOAM-TV.

Those who want to contribute may do so at Pittsburg’s Molle Automotive; Wal-Mart; Walgreens; Big Lots; three Dollar General locations on Broadway, Rouse Street and in Arma; Jock’s Nitch; Meadowbrook Mall; Sweet Designs Cakery; Crimson Villas; My Town Media; and the Salvation Army.

Monetary donations may be made at Pumpin’ Pete’s or at Sweet Designs, where donors may add their names to paper trains.

At Walgreens, shoppers may contribute to a fill-the-truck toy drive on Saturday, Dec. 3.

And today, Lawson said to expect at least one Marine in dress blues walking the Christmas parade route beginning at 6:30 p.m. Parade-goers may give donations of new, unwrapped toys for boys and girls of all ages.

Be prepared; it’s hard to say no to a Marine.

Details: Salvation Army at 620-231-0415 or Lawson at 949-331-5838.

Have an idea for a column? Email, or visit Facebook at Andra Bryan Stefanoni, Staff Writer - The Joplin Globe. Visit the Globe’s newest Facebook page at Joplin Globe: Pittsburg, Kan.

Text Only
Local News
  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: It’s not Mayberry, but Carthage is close

    When I was a kid, I wanted to live in Mayberry. In a way, I suppose I still want to live in Mayberry, the fictional town featured in the classic Andy Griffith show of the 1960s.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Joplin couple indicted in child porn case

    A federal grand jury indicted a Joplin couple Wednesday for alleged sexual exploitation of a second child in addition to a girl who was the subject of a preceding indictment of the husband for allegedly producing and distributing child pornography.

    July 23, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Missouri attorney general defends his support of Amendment 1

    With a large cornfield behind him and campaign signs all around, Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster appeared Wednesday at the David Collard farm to tout Amendment 1, an Aug. 5 ballot measure that would make the “right to farm” part of the state constitution.

    July 23, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

  • Pseudoephedrine sales in Pittsburg to require prescription

    Starting Friday, those who purchase pseudoephedrine and related products in Pittsburg will need a prescription to do so.

    July 22, 2014

  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read


Have you ever served as a volunteer for your state's conservation department?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter