LORDSTOWN - The General Motors Corp. Lordstown Complex Paint Shop has become akin to Santa's toy shop for the last 11 years as the United Auto Workers Local 1112 has donated hundreds of toys to the Salvation Army for their holiday red kettle campaign.
"It really kicks off the holiday season for us here," said Scott Negley, paint shop manager.
More than a dozen bikes and 300 toys, along with a check for $5,250 were donated to the Salvation Army by the union and their associates.
After 11 years, Negley said the joint effort just starts to come together on its own. In October Tina Caperelli, paint planner, picked up 100 Salvation Army angel tree tags, each representing a needy child, for the team members.
"It's really a very rewarding experience" she said, "people participate from across the complex."
After months of toy gathering, Local President Glenn Johnson said the event is the "shining star" of the year for the team members.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Margaret Thompson
Tom Kettering and Maj. Valerie Kahn prepare to take more than 100 toys to the Mahoning County Salvation Army on Tuesday due to the efforts of the GM Lordstown Complex Paint Shop and UAW Local 1112.
"We're all very fortunate for our jobs here at GM Lordstown, to have jobs to be able to provide for our family and to give back - or pay it forward - to children who would be without toys for the holiday," Johnson said.
After presenting the check to the Mahoning County Area Coordinators of the Salvation Army, the team members set to work loading the goodies into a box truck, the services of which were donated by Brady Enterprises.
Bike after bike were passed up to Brian Cindea and Jason Stouffer of the moving company who stood inside the truck.
"It's really the best time of the year," Cindea said.
Tom Kettering of Hubbard, dressed in his blue worksuit, helped load up basketballs, sandboxes, toy cars and the like.
"I love it and I make sure I do it every year," he said.
Kettering, who has been working at the plant for the past 43 years, is not the only one who has been looking forward to the donations. Maj. Valerie Kahn and Maj. Elijah Kahn, area co-coordinators for the local Salvation Army, said the donation is one of the largest that they receive each year.
"It's the 11th year that we've received a donation from them. With the toys and donation they are probably going to serve at least 200 children," Maj. Valerie Kahn said. "Hopefully it can inspire and encourage other groups to donate."
She said the number of people they serve fluctuates from year to year but in general they help over 2,000 children and 1,600 families through the holiday season.