A Christmas Message of Giving, From Jim Millican
I’m writing this article on one of my favorite days of the year. It’s not one of my favorites because it’s December 3rd or some obscure yet to be promoted holiday (think: Talk Like a Pirate Day…). Today is the day that the 3rd Battalion 25th Marine Regiment stationed in Brook Park, Ohio come to our offices to pick up our donation to the Toys for Tots program. It’s a brief 15-minute stop with pictures and good-natured fun with Corporal Brito and Sergeant Rosales before they head down the road for another pickup. But, it means more than that to me.
For those who don’t know the story, we started donating to the Toys for Tots Campaign back in 2012 as a way to better spend our gifting fund. In the past, we used to drive all over town and deliver Malley’s chocolate. I know everyone loved the candy, but the truth was, we could do better. While everyone appreciated the gesture, the money could be better utilized through Toys for Tots.
So, in 2012 I asked GySgt. Quavis Shuler, USMC of the 3/25th Marines in Brook Park, Ohio what they needed. His response, “toys for girls between the ages of 11-14.” Since then, the Marines of the 3/25th have remembered us as the “company that gave all the shampoo and lotions for the girls” and we offered to do it again this year. It has been a big hit with the Marines doing the work. So, we have donated lots of Bath and Body Works stuff again along with fashionable hats, mittens, purses, and such. If you find a good thing, stick with it. I think it also takes a lot of pressure off the Marines who invariably struggle when handing out toys to the kids and don’t have enough things for girls in this age range. Our gratitude is also extended to Bath and Body Works in Mayfield Heights for working with us and extending additional discounts so as to make the most of our donation. When my wife explained the purpose, the Bath and Body people stepped up and did us a big favor by basically doing a 2 for 1 sale. Many thanks to the great employees at that store!
This day is also very special because it reminds me of how grateful I am to be part of this team and Ashton Solutions. I know Thanksgiving has just come and gone, but it’s this time of the year that I’m reminded of all the love and gratitude expressed by the many people in my life who make this very special day for me, so special.
I want to thank ALL of our clients for the opportunity to work with them and help them work toward and realize their business dreams. I want to thank all our clients’ end-users for working with us and being patient and understanding. I want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to give back to our communities in ways like the Toys for Tots campaign.
I want to thank my team for taking care of our clients and our company so that we have opportunities like this to share a little of what we have earned over the year. Sometimes the job is tough and thankless, but I want all my team to know that their hard work will be shared by some kids in Northeast Ohio through the Tots campaign. Thanks for all you do for Ashton and our clients, and by extension, the kids in the community!
Lastly, thanks to my family for helping with the shopping and the transporting of gifts. It was my daughter’s idea back in 2012 when we started trying to figure out what to get girls 9-14; she said, “Dad, seriously? Girls love lotions and shampoo and purses and stuff for Christmas.” Who would have known? And, thanks a bunch to my wife Madeleine who, like the Marines, goes on a mission. Hers is to Bath and Body Works and she’s armed with coupons and email discount specials and does all the gift procurement. She invariably stretches our gift dollar better than anyone can imagine!
We’re also donating this year to the Semper Fi Fund (www.semperfifund.org) which assists members of the US Armed Forces to overcome injuries, find jobs, and provide general assistance to those veterans in need. Since the Marine Corps is so involved with Toys for Tots, I decided that we needed to help them, too. Judging by the commitment the Marines have made to the Tots program, we find it just as necessary we come to their aid. Nothing can express my gratitude for their service to our nation, so I hope those most closely involved with their needs can help a little more through our donation.
There will be lots of kids in the area who will be grateful and thankful for something special this Christmas. There will also be a Veteran who will have an opportunity that you helped provide. And, I thank you for giving Ashton the opportunity to be a part of your giving.
God bless, Merry Christmas, and a Happy, Healthy New Year from all of us at Ashton Technology Solutions!