(Springfield, Mo.--11/22/17) Striving to serve their community, local law enforcement is hosting their 11th annual toy drive to give less fortunate families a magical Christmas this year.
It's the Missouri State Highway Patrols Corporal John Sampietro Jr. Toy Drive, in honor of the city's fallen hero who was killed in the line of duty.
"It feels good to give something and not expect anything back," explains Jay's wife Jennifer Sampietro.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol is holding there holiday toy drive in honor of Corporal Jay Sampietro Jr.
"He was just one of those people that took you in and he was friends with everybody."
He is one of the many officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep those in our state safe. His wife Jennifer and family will be forced to spend another holiday and a lifetime without their loved one.
"It was just something that took something really bad and turned our life upside down and kind of made it something to look forward to going into the holidays."
12 years ago Jennifer was working as a radio operator for the patrol when her husband was working a crash site. A distracted driver on I-44 near Strafford failed to move over, hitting and killing her husband.
"It’s bittersweet. I mean Jay isn’t here,but we’re doing something good for the community."
Jennifer says although is life was cut short, he died doing what he loved.
"Not only did he go out and he did arrest people,but he also helped people to. I think with the toy drive it’s kind of the same thing is just it’s also serving the public and people that need help."
Sgt. Jason Pace believes that the toy drive goes hand in hand with being involved in the community and going above and beyond to serve
"Those who get into law enforcement don’t do it for money. We do it to be of service to others and so this just another way to be of service to the community," explains Pace.
That same community that Jay served, has rallied behind the highway patrol and his family to help them through the holidays. The toy drive is designed to brighten the holiday for children who are forced to spend the Christmas season in the hospital.
"It’s more than just a toy. It’s a showing of love, and compassion in the memory of Jay."
This toy drive, in remembrance of Corporal Sampietro, who died in the line of duty in 2005, will begin on , and will conclude on .
Toy donations may be made at the Springfield Krispy Kreme Doughnuts location, 3860 S. Campbell Avenue, Springfield, Missouri. Anyone who donates a new, unwrapped toy valued at $10 or more will receive a free, dozen original Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts. Toy needs include coloring/activity books, board games, Hot Wheels, action figures, age appropriate DVD movies, small handheld electronic games, Legos, art supplies, blocks, or infant toys. Additional toy drop-off locations in Springfield include: Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop D Headquarters, Ferrell-Duncan Clinic, The Turner Center, and the Cox South Medical Center-West Tower.
CoxHealth also meets the needs of children in the hospital through its Child Life Services, which helps ease anxieties and answer questions for them and their families. While the toy drive caters to the children admitted to CoxHealth Children’s Hospital during the holidays, Child Life Services works to put a smile on both the children’s and their parents’ faces throughout the year. To support Child Life Services as part of the 11th Annual Corporal John A. “Jay” Sampietro Jr. Toy Drive, please contact Racheal Adegboyega, director of Sponsor Relations, atRacheal.Adegboyega@coxhealth.com.