GRAYLING / ROSCOMMON – Once again Santa and his crew visited Crawford and Roscommon Counties, compliments of Lake State Railway, AuSable Media Group, LLC, Blarney Stone Broadcasting, the AuSable River Center, and the Crawford County Historical Society and Museum.
The crowds of children of all ages started to gather well before the appointed arrival hour looking expectantly down the tracks for the first flash of the lights on the Santa Train. Soon the evening air carried the blare of the locomotive’s horn as the glow of the lights appeared around the bend and everyone knew that Santa was coming to town.
This was the second year of the “Toys for Tot’s” Santa Train sponsored by Lake State Railway in Grayling and the first for Roscommon. Most folks are familiar with the “Toys for Tots” program started in Los Angeles in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks of the United States Marine Corps Reserves. Since then, the Toys for Tots program has gathered hundreds of thousands of toys to assure thousands of children a very merry Christmas.
Last year Lake State Railway, which services our community, partnered with Blarney Stone Broadcasting and the Crawford County Historical Society and Museum to do a test run of the Santa Train – Toys for Tots program. Needless to say it met with great success collecting many boxes of toys that were distributed into the Crawford community by the “Christian Help Center”.
This year Lake State expanded the program to include Roscommon, West Branch and Standish. The Crawford County stop developed six large boxes of new toys for the children of our community along with significant cash donations. The most spectators were in Standish and in Roscommon, which fell on the same date as their annual Christmas in the Village festivities.
When asked why Lake State Railway sponsors the Toys for Tots Santa Train, Shasta Duffey, LSRW Marketing and Advertising Manager, said “It’s Lake States way of helping to spread the spirit of Christmas and being good partners with the communities we service.”
Will the Santa Train continue to grow? Seeing the. children line up to sit on Santa’s knee and then go after the hot chocolate and cookies, the answer would appear to be a resounding yes.
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