MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Staff Sgt. Melissa Marnell, a combat photographer with MCBQ CommStrat, collects toys each year for Toys for Tots. She also takes photos for people outside of work, but for the season of giving, payments are not of monetary value. Instead she asks that her clients provide new and unwrapped toys as payment.
This tradition of hers began eight years ago, when her first child passed away in Nov. 2010.
Marnell's daughter carried a bear she received at a unit Christmas party, provided by Toys for Tots, with her everywhere she went. She knew how much that bear meant to her daughter and knew that other children would appreciate a nice toy.
She requested that in lieu of flowers and cards, friends and family members could donate a toy to Toys for Tots. Over $3,000 of toys were collected in her honor.
Now Marnell's relatives across the United States continue the tradition.
Marnell believes everyone can find a path to help others in their own special way. Her favorite quote echos that sentiment, "What the enemy means for evil, God can use for good."