SoCal veterans make, deliver toys to children in need

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
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A group of local veterans is helping bring holiday cheer to thousands of kids this year by making toys and delivering them to children in need.

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Bill Rogers, 82, loves toys -- wooden toys to be specific.

The Orange resident leads about 50 volunteers who make up the Orange County Woodworking Association. This time of year, they make toys for children in need.

"It's not about me. It's about what we're supposed to be doing. We're supposed to be helping others, and so I'm not looking for recognition," Rogers said.

Many of the children they bring gifts to are at hospitals like UC Irvine Medical Center. This project started as a hobby for the Air Force veteran nearly 30 years ago and has since grown exponentially.

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"We make over 4,000 toys a year, and we started about three organizations, and now we've got 54 organizations that we support," Rogers said.

The group is made up of many veterans who also make special gifts for active duty and retired members of the military.

"You're hanging out with people that have the same type of thing going on, so it's really therapeutic and heartwarming to be able to do that," Rogers said.

While it's easy to compare Rogers to his famous TV namesake, he says he prefers Will Rogers, who said "I never met a man I didn't like." He wishes that's how everyone looked at life.

"I told my students I said you should, every day, you should be looking for opportunities to help somebody," Rogers said.