350 families receive toys for Christmas.

Runnels County Sheriff’s toy drive donations exceed expectations

   Last month Runnels County Sheriff Carl Squyers said that the department had lost the primary sponsor for the toy drive. The sponsor typically supplied about 90% of the toys and funds for the drive. Enter: The people and businesses of Runnels County. No matter how you would describe the way the people and businesses of the county and west Texas made this successful, it would be an understatement. People from Ballinger, Winters, Paint Rock, San Angelo, Miles, Rowena, Olfen and other places stepped up to the plate in a big way. What may have been destined to leave a lot of kids wanting this Christmas turned into a resounding success.

  “I never expected this at all,” Squyers said as we entered the room at the sheriff’s office containing the toys. They even had to use space in other rooms to store more toys. And there were still toys to be picked up from the collection boxes around town.

  On Saturday, December 15th, several biker groups had a “Shine and Show” to benefit the toy drive. The motorcycles thundered into town, revving up their engines for a good cause. In the end over 30 people attended the event, “The turnout was absolutely incredible,” Squyers mentioned as he visited with the bikers.

  Bikers from several motorcycle club chapters across the country attended the event. Rod Christopher from Eden and a member of the military biker club, the “Green Knights,” chapter 64 showed up. Rod is a Vietnam veteran and 74 years old but didn’t let the could slow him down, “This is for a good cause, for the kids.” Incoming JP Lane Pinckney was also on-hand. The Runnels County jail administrator, Kimberly Dunn, came out to lend a hand as did Sheriff Squyers’ wife, Cherie.

  As he made the rounds visiting Squyers remarked, “This is the most successful toy drive we’ve ever had.” Todd Allen, the Tom Green County jail administrator and member of the Blue Knights chapter 35 showed up with other motorcycle club members, “I was sitting on my front porch one day drinking some coffee when I heard about the sheriff’s office losing their main sponsor. So we decided to help out.”

  The toy drive ended up with hundreds of toys ensuring that every child in Runnels County in need will be taken care of this Christmas. Squyers noted the contributions from everyone in the county and the businesses, “ We had many individuals who donated toys and money in support of the Christmas Toy Drive. We also want to thank every one of you for making this Christmas so special for the children of Runnels County.” Jeff Smith at KRUN and Landy Cason mentioned the toy drive every morning on their radio show, helping it find success and spreading the word. Smith spoke of stepping up to help the sheriff’s department toy drive, “When we heard that the corporate sponsor who donated a majority of the toys had backed out we knew that we needed to do something to help. We just knew that if we spoke out, asked for help and stayed relentless with it that the people and businesses of Runnels County would rise to the occasion. Fortunately, they didn't just rise; they soared.

  Squyers also wanted to add a special message to everyone, “I am reminded daily how blessed we are to be living in Runnels County because of the caring and generosity of others. My wife, Cherie, and we saw this for ourselves as the center of this generosity and caring, when in 2014 Cherie was diagnosed with an incurable lung disease. Her only hope of for survival was a bi-lateral double lung transplant. With the support of the Runnels County community through donations, fundraisers and an overwhelming amount of prayers, Cherie received the gift of life through a lung transplant on June 1st, 2014. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for that miracle to remind each and every one of you how truly blessed we are to call runnels County home.”

  In addition to all of the individuals who donated, the following businesses also made contributions and many of them had toy collection boxes at their locations: Byler Dirt Construction, Ballinger Rotary, KRUN radio, Ballinger post office, Sugar Bugs, Luxury Oil Field Rentals, Sons of Herman, Big Lake Kay Construction, Shoppin’ Basket, CSG Insurance, God’s Chapel Church, Content Valley Ranch and Storage, Runnels County Register newspaper, First National Bank of Ballinger, Wal-Mart, Dollar General, Phoenix Motorcycle Club of Ballinger, Blue Knights motorcycle club chapter 35 and Green Knights motorcycle club 64. 

When the toy deliveries were made, there were approximately 350 families in Runnels County that benefitted from the generosity of those in the communities.