American Aero FTW, a private aviation terminal at Meacham International Airport, hosted its fifth annual Toys for Tots toy drive and luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 13. More than 200 toys and 65 bicycles were donated by American Aero FTW employees and clients, airport tenants, area firefighters and police officers who attended the festivities.
“What better way to celebrate the holidays with our airport neighbors and friends than by giving back to our local community?” said Riggs Brown, American Aero FTW general manager. “The Toys for Tots program benefits about 150,000 children throughout Tarrant and surrounding North Texas counties.”
Toys for Tots annually aims to collect new, unwrapped toys from October to December to distribute as Christmas gifts to children in need. Since 2013, American Aero FTW has helped collect more than 1,000 toys and nearly 500 bicycles on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.
“I want to welcome all of you and thank you for the thousands
of gifts and hundreds of bicycles you have donated over the past five years,” Robert Bass, owner of American Aero FTW, said at the event.
During the program, Staff Sgt. Michael Nadon shared an anecdote about his first time delivering gifts.
“Not often do Marines get the opportunity to deliver toys for children on Christmas day,” Nadon said. “Well, I had the opportunity to personally deliver toys on Christmas day to kids in need.”
Nadon said when he arrived at the house the father told him he thought his kids weren’t going to have Christmas that year.
A little kid came up to my wife … and they looked at [us] with tears in their eyes because they thought they weren’t going to get a Christmas,” Nadon said. “Understand that your toys are going to people in need and what you donate matters.”
In addition to the Toys for Tots program, the fixed base operator (FBO) matches customer donations to make an annual contribution to the Navy SEAL Foundation. In 2017, a donation of $22,000 was earmarked to support scholarships for former SEALs interested in earning a pilot certification.
American Aero FTW is focused on the refueling, groundhandling, servicing and storing of business and private aviation aircraft and provides crew and passenger amenities. The FBO also played a leading role in renovations at Meacham, and recently unveiled a new facility in the airport’s renovated terminal building.