Posted: Sep 20, 2013 6:06 PM by Miranda Craig, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Sep 20, 2013 8:35 PM
COLUMBIA - Whiteman Air Force Base volunteers donated toys and time to the children at the MU Women's and Children's Hospital Friday.
The effort was the result of a conversation between Tech Sergeant Michael Vacca and his 6-year-old son, which Vacca called inspiring.
It came after the boy had been in the hospital. "My son said to me, ‘Dad, I would have liked a visit from you.'"
Vacca said he thought, "I should do something for those kids."
After contacting MU Women's and Children's Hospital to set the date for a visit, Vacca gathered members of his community to plan for the toy drive.
"I started making calls and getting contacts," Vacca said. "We only had 12 days to do it."
Many of the volunteers came from Whiteman Air Force Base. They began toy drives and asking for monetary donations.
"The donations really surprised me," said Vacca. "We had so many volunteers that we actually had to turn some away, but it was how the community came together and contributed that really surprised me."
Veteran's United purchased $1,000 worth of toys.
Presley Stacey, a 7-year-old girl from Ashgrove who welcomed the military visitors received a new set of princess dress up gear.
Stacey was one of more than 20 children visited in various sections of the hospital, including the Intensive Care Unit.
"Bringing a smile to these kids faces is our way of showing that the military also cares about these kids." Vacca said.
Volunteer and fellow airman, Kylie Lowder, said she agrees with Vacca.
"They are really our heroes. They're the ones who battle through everyday, we just get dressed and go to work," Lowder said.