2018 Mountain of Toys - wb.jpgSoldiers of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) attending the Basic Leader Course at Fort Drum participate in the annual Mountain of Toys program at the Fort Drum Noncommissioned Officers Academy headquarters on Dec. 2. The program is headed by the Fort Drum Sergeants Major Association with additional support from the post’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program. (U.S. Army photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)

Annual Mountain of Toys program continues
to be holiday helper for Fort Drum Families


Mike Strasser

Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs


FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Dec. 10, 2018) -- It was a cold, rainy morning made warmer with holiday cheer as Soldiers from the Fort Drum Basic Leader Course and the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program loaded a van full of donated toys Dec. 3 from the Noncommissioned Officers Academy headquarters.

They were supporting the Fort Drum Sergeants Major Association’s Mountain of Toys program, which has been an annual holiday helper for the military community for more than two decades.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Joe McLaughlin, representing the Sergeants Major Association, said that individuals and organizations donated toys or contributed a monetary donation for the purchase of toys.

“We know that the Army takes care of its Soldiers, but what our program does is provide that little extra during the holidays,” he said.

Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Loehr, NCOA commandant, said that Soldiers from the previous and current BLC class contributed to the Mountain of Toys program.

“It’s a chance for them to exercise some selfless service and to give back to members of their own community,” he said. “It also gives them a little insight into program management, which is something they need to learn as a noncommissioned officer.”

Loehr said that every BLC class has an opportunity to participate in community service projects, to include American Red Cross blood drives and the Feed Our Vets program at the Watertown Pantry.

“Mountain of Toys is one of those great programs that really helps out in the long run and is appreciated by those who need and use it,” Loehr said.

The precious cargo was headed to the Fort Drum BOSS Center, where Staff Sgt. Jon Bannister and other BOSS representatives will sort and distribute the toys through Dec. 14.

“I think this is a great event every year – providing help to Soldiers and their Families – and we’re just happy to be a part of it again,” Bannister said.