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Troops wage attack on sadness with gifts of joy

December 22, 2011
By J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

A small detachment of troops from the 910th Airlift Wing waged war on frowns Friday by bringing several bags of toys to Akron Children's Hospital in Boardman. They visited more than 25 children and brightened up their day with some special gifts.

"The toys came from a collection at the airbase," said Marine commander CWO4 Emiliano DeLeon.

The visit included DeLeon, and Air Force Reservists Capt. Brian Hodor, MSgt. Scott Francesangeli, LtGl. Mark Ables, and SSgt. Kelly Lint.

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Capt. Brian Hodor opens the package of a toy airplane that he gave to two-year-old Sophia Rose of Boardman during her stay at Akron Children's Hospital in Boardman. In the background is Sophia’s mom Shannon Weimer and MSgt. Scott Francesangeli.

The event was not the first time the 910th Airlift Wing has visited the children. According to Akron Children's Hospital public relations specialist Annie Sofran, the visits began shortly after the Boardman campus opened.

"They have been doing it every year since we opened in December of 2008," Sofran said.

The group spent almost two hours visiting children in their rooms and a few who were in the E.R. Each child got two toys and usually left with a big smile.

While older kids received a model of a C-130, younger children got more age-appropriate toys. Two-year-old Sophia Rose Menting opened her gift and found an airplane with a little airplane attached. When she pulled the little airplane back, the propeller on the larger plane began to spin. Sophia looked at the toy, looked at Capt. Hodor and pointed to the sky.

Sophia's mom, Shannon Weimer, said she brought her daughter in to Akron Childrens with a breathing problem. It was quickly diagnosed and she was placed on medication to cure her situation. She was expected to be released later that day, but got the joy of having a visit from the troops before departing.

Weimer said her stay at the hospital was amazing.

"It is like Christmas every day around here," she said.

DeLeon said both the Air Force and Marines at the airbase worked hard to collect the toys for the Boardman visit. They toys were sorted and bagged for the trip and he and the rest of the group volunteered to make the trip to Akron Children's to deliver the gifts.



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