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MVH's Leaders Build Toys to kickoff Toys For Tots Season

MVH Toys for Tots

From left, Toys for Tots Coordinator Wally Fronzaglio (red jacket) poses with MVH's John Bogdan and Doug Prentice with the toys assembled by MVH management during a recent teamwork exercise. Bogdan and Prentice are the hospital's Toys For Tots coordinators and Fronzaglio has been the local Toys For Tots coordinator for 23 years.

MVH Toys for Tots

MVH Toy Assembly: Monongahela Valley Hospital leaders work to assemble toys for the local Toys For Tots program. They are, from left, Marsha Chacko, Diagnostic Radiology supervisor; Tim Hamstra, supervisor, special procedures; Debbie Burkhardt, Chief Radiation therapist; and Susan Betler, Blood Bank supervisor.
While practicing team-building skills at a recent leadership conference, Monongahela Valley Hospital's leaders transformed the Education Conference Center into a Santa's workshop of sorts as they assembled toy tricycles to donate to the area's Toys For Tots program.

After a half-day conference for the hospital's ambitious system-wide improvement effort called the Journey to Excellence program, hospital leaders were divided into groups of six or more members. Each group was given a toy tricycle still in the box, which they assembled as a team using tools they had brought just for the purpose.

U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program Coordinator Wally Fronzaglio of Donora attended to witness the toy assembly, which has become a favorite annual event for the leaders.

Fronzaglio then accepted the donated toys afterwards on behalf of the Mon Valley Leathernecks, a group of 167 former Marines of all ages and walks of life that "does all the legwork" for the local Toys for Tots program. The group formed in 1986 to run a local collection program.

Fronzaglio said he looks forward to the MVH event because it serves as the official kickoff for the Toys For Tots campaign.

"This really gets things going for us and sets a good example of giving," he said. "Another organization has even asked to copy the hospital's (toy assembly event), which is great because Toys for Tots is very important to the needy children in the Valley."

MVH has been involved in the Toys for Tots program in the mid-Mon valley since it began in 1986 and has been assembling toys annually for the group's kickoff for the last four years, according to John Bogdan, RN, BSN, nurse manager of the Behavioral Health and EEG Departments.

Bogdan and Storeroom Manager Doug Prentice have served as MVH's Toys for Tots coordinators for the last 13 years and both thought the event went well.

"I think the team really looks forward to this and it's one of my favorite projects," said Bogdan, who added that more than 30 collection boxes will also be placed around the hospital to collect new, unwrapped toys for Toys For Tots.

Bogdan said he and Prentice will place the collection boxes out the Monday before Thanksgiving in case shoppers see bargains on Black Friday.

Members of the community are also welcome to donate toys at these collection sites in the hospital.

Fronzaglio is elated with the hospital's participation in the Toys For Tots program and said it really makes a difference for the area’s children.

He said that monetary donations are also welcome and will be used to purchase new toys for this year's distribution.

"We gave 1,000 children toys last year; whatever donations come in are very important and the money donated (to purchase toys) is spent right here in the Mon Valley and that helps the local economy, keeping it right here," said Fronzaglio.

Anyone interested in contributing may send checks made payable to "Toys For Tots" by mail to Wally Fronzaglio, 204 Brokaw Ave., Donora, PA 15033, before Dec. 15. Checks received after that date will be used for the 2012 drive.

The Toys For Tots program began in the late 1940s in Los Angeles, Ca., by Marine Reservists. Walt Disney helped by designing the group's train car logo and other celebrities like Bob Hope and John Wayne also helped during the organization's formative years. During the 64 years of the program, Marines have distributed more than 400 million toys to more than 188 million needy children

For more information on the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, visit For information on the local program, contact Coordinator Wally Fronzaglio before 5 p.m. 724-797-3824 or after 5 p.m. 724-379-8888.

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