Oiler Alumni Come Back to Campus to Help with Toys for Tots
Haley ’13 and Daniel Leaks ’14 share a passion for the armed forces, both veterans of the U.S. Navy. The married couple also share a strong passion for University of Findlay and making a difference in the lives of others. Haley and Daniel came together to support everything they love, with Haley volunteering to serve as the chair for the University of Findlay’s Toys for Tots annual event, and Daniel playing the role of Santa Claus.
“People take a lot of things for granted. If you haven’t struggled, you wouldn’t know what it feels like to go without,” Haley said. “I’m excited for all the people who are going to benefit from this event and the efforts of Toys for Tots. Helping with this event allows me to bring things full circle.”
When asked about being a part of something bigger than herself, Haley teared up, thinking back to the impact the Salvation Army had on her as a child. “I didn’t have toys one Christmas, and somebody donated to Toys for Tots. The Salvation Army and Marines brought my brother and me presents one year when my family fell on hard times,” she recalled. “This event hits close to home for me.”
Proud members of the U.S. military, Haley and Daniel do their best to support all branches and their respective causes. When the opportunity presented itself to take part in the 19th annual Toys for Tots event at their alma mater, while also helping the local Marine Corps members and Hancock County’s Salvation Army, they jumped at the chance to make a difference. “It’s nice to come back to campus and it’s truly humbling to be involved with an event like Toys for Tots,” said Daniel. “Any time I can serve and help out the local military, I volunteer my time.”
Daniel said he prefers to stay behind the scenes and to help make a difference. “I don’t go out to get praised or thanked. I like to do things in the background (like dress up as Santa). The kids won’t have any idea that I played a role in them receiving gifts, and that’s ok with me,” he said.
Toys collected at University of Findlay will be distributed to Hancock County children this holiday season. If you were unable to attend but would like to donate to Toys for Tots, please visit the following link for a list of all donation locations and drop-off boxes in Hancock County.