The Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots 2015 holiday season program was officially launched at Integra Optics’ headquarters last month, making this the 3rd year in a row that the company has served as the home for the program in upstate New York.
A press conference was held at Integra Optics’ facility in late October to signify the kick-off of the program, and to acknowledge the local businesses and organizations that donate to the campaign every year. This year, a total of $91,000 dollars in donations was given to support the campaign; $40,000 of which was donated by Integra Optics.
As a veteran-owned business, with many veteran employees, Integra Optics shares a special relationship with the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program, especially because the coordinator of the campaign is a veteran, and an Integra Optics employee.
Albert Roman Jr., Logistics Supervisor at Integra, is a retired Marine Corps veteran and has been the Toys for Tots Program Coordinator for upstate New York for the past two years. Upon retiring from the Marine Corps after a 16-year career, Roman began running the program from the Marine Corps Reserve Center in Glenville, N.Y. until the center closed down in 2012. It was then that Integra Optics CEO, Dave Prescott, suggested that Roman run the program out of Integra Optics’ headquarters in Latham, N.Y. As the Program Coordinator, Roman oversees the collection and distribution of thousands of donated toys across upstate New York. In the two years that Roman has been running the program from Integra Optics, over 200,000 toys have been delivered to children across the state. It’s a huge undertaking, but Roman is proud to do it, and he takes much satisfaction in knowing that he is leading an effort that brings great joy to thousands of children every holiday season.
Roman says, “Coming from a poor background, and being able to make a difference in a kids’ life is important because someone needs to show or tell these kids that no matter what situation they are currently going through, there will be a better tomorrow, and I’m living proof of it.”
Prescott is also more than happy to allow the Toys for Tots program to operate out of Integra Optics’ facility. “As a veteran owned business, Integra Optics is proud to support the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign,” he says. “It’s a great feeling to be able to help Toys for Tots in ensuring that thousands of children will have a present to open on Christmas morning.”
The 2015 Toys for Tots campaign is off to a tremendous start. Thousands of toys have already been collected, and hundreds of donation bins have been distributed at locations across the state. It’s safe to say that with Roman once again leading this year’s Toys for Tots program, the organization is well on its way to reaching their goal of collecting 200,000 toys.