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NEWS | Dec. 17, 2015

Navy Corpsmen conduct toy drive in honor of fallen comrade

NMETC Public Affairs

Sailors at the Navy  Medicine Training Support Center wrapped up their fourth annual holiday toy drive at the Medical Education and Training Campus on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Dec. 4. This year’s drive was held in honor of a fellow hospital corpsman killed in combat in 2006.

Petty Officer 3rd Class  Christopher Anderson was deployed with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines in Ramadi, Iraq, when he passed away Dec. 4, 2006. Several hospital corpsmen at NMTSC knew Anderson and a few were on deployment with him at the time.

“The goal of this toy drive is to gather toys to deliver to the Marine Corps ‘Toys for Tots,’ and it’s in honor of our fallen brother, who some of us here deployed with,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Tristan McCauley, an instructor for the Basic Medical Technician/Corpsmen Program. “He loved kids. He loved giving toys to kids. His family in  Colorado started the toy drive for him and we decided to do the same here.”

BMTCP is taught in METC’s Anderson Hall, named in honor of the fallen corpsman, who McCauley said he deployed with in Iraq.

McCauley volunteered to lead the coordination efforts for the drive this year to honor  Anderson and his family. 

Anderson’s parents, Rick and Debbie, have held the toy drive every year in his hometown of Longmont, Colo., for the past seven years. They donate everything to the Longmont Police Department in his name and the toys are distributed to families in need.

“If he were alive right now and he could see what we are doing in San Antonio, he’d be ecstatic because this is what it’s all about – giving back,” McCauley said.

Anderson spent a lot of time in Iraq giving back as much as he could to the children in the area, receiving donations in packages from his family with toys and school supplies, said Chief Petty Officer Albert Ramirez, a METC instructor who was a mentor to Anderson in Iraq.

“He’d definitely be happy with this,” Ramirez said. “I’m pretty sure if he were still around, he’d try to put something like this together on his own to do something for the Toys for Tots campaign.”

McCauley said he believes the toy drive has a long and bright future.

“This is a toy drive that will continue as long as this building is standing,” McCauley said. “There are plenty of 1st battalion, 6th Marines corpsmen who will walk in and out of this building. We’ll make sure that his legacy carries on, and this toy drive is part of his legacy.”