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Salvation Army Church program designing toys for Christmas

October 20, 2007
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer
Boys in the Salvation Army Church will pass along a little Christmas cheer this year.

Adventure Corps boys are building train engines and coal cars for the annual Wells Fargo Dress-A-Doll, Design-A-Toy program. These toys will be given to youngsters in Fort Dodge during the holidays.

Judy Stoltenberg, a member of the church, leads the Adventure Corps. She said the number of boys involved varies.

‘‘When I started doing the train, they all started coming,’’ she said. ‘‘This will be used for the community service awards for the Salvation Army.’’

It isn’t the thought of doing community service that interests the boys. They’re more inclined to get a kick out of the sanding, the painting and the designing.

And for some of the boys, it’s a chance to do for someone else what someone already did for them — some of the boys received trains and planes when they were younger.

Klae Robeson, 9, is a fourth-grader at Feelhaver Elementary School.

‘‘I was, like, 3 or 4 and I got a train like this when I was little,’’ he said. ‘‘It had a whole bunch of cars. I got it with candy — some looked like coal. It was red and green with No. 24 in yellow. I got it on Christmas morning.’’

He couldn’t quite express what he felt, but 11-year-old Jarrod Holt jumped in to help.

‘‘Surprised. Happy. Shocked. Excited.’’

Robeson nodded.

‘‘I had one and now I get to paint one,’’ he said.

Holt, 11, is in sixth grade at Fair Oaks Middle School. He said he’s helped his father put together model cars in the past, so he’s used to having to sand and paint.

While the boys worked, Robeson started singing ‘‘Go Tell It on the Mountain.’’ Not the whole song, just a few words. It was a comfortable project for him, and he was giving it his all.

Jordan Morzek, 10, said he liked the idea ‘‘that we’re going to give these to little kids. They gave to us when we were little kids. I got a train.’’

He said he was a touch worried about painting the train.

‘‘It bothered me a little bit,’’ he said. ‘‘Like if we messed up, we wouldn’t have another one to take its place.’’

Stoltenberg said she was able to get just so many trains from the bank. The boys had to do their best work with the first train they got.

Jared Grove, 8, is in third grade at Feelhaver. He said his parents got him a model car for his birthday last year.

‘‘I had to sand. I had to paint. I had to put it together with glue,’’ he said. ‘‘I really liked doing it.’’

Trae Evans, 13, is a seventh-grader at Phillips Middle School.

‘‘I had one of these when I was a little kid,’’ he said. ‘‘When I was 5. It’s still in my basement — I haven’t played with it for a while. But I played with it nonstop when I got it. When it was bedtime, I wanted to take it with me. I didn’t want to let go of it at all. It had a string to pull it and on the side it was 91, my lucky number. The wheels were pure silver — the paint, not the wheel itself.’’

Still, it seems as if a pure silver wheel wouldn’t have made more of an impression than the No. 91 train — 91, his lucky number.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Sandy Mickelson
Trae Evans, 13, attaches a wheel to his train engine as part of the Salvaion Army program to build toys, which will be given to youngsters at Christmas. The seventh-grade student at Phillips Middle School said he received a train when he was younger and “played with it nonstop.”

Fact Box

If you want to help:
There are no more trains, planes or tractors to be designed, but there are still about a dozen dolls that can be dressed. Anyone interested in doing so may stop at Wells Fargo Bank to pick up a doll.



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