Eagle project combines toy drive with Friday concert

November 27, 2013 

Martha Davis, the president and executive director of Toy Rescue Mission, recently praised Quinton Sisson and his family, who have spearheaded toy drives, provided money and purchased a new bicycle, helmet and lock for a foster teen who had never had the experience before.

“Quinton has a passion for service, and I applaud him and family for helping those unable to do so for themselves,” Davis said.

Not long thereafter, Sisson’s dad, Monty, wrote me an email.

“I have been the cub master for (Boy Scouts of America) Pack 264 for the past 10 years,” he wrote. “You have been at a few of our events — Blue and Gold and the Pinewood Derby.”

Monte reminded me that I photographed Quinton when he was a Tiger cub scout, when he was a first-grade scout, and when I covered the Pinewood Derby 10 years ago.

Now, Quinton is an Eagle Scout candidate.

“His project is a toy drive with the beneficiary to be the Tacoma Toy Rescue mission,” Monty wrote.

That got my attention.

Davis said Tacoma Toy Rescue has been an all-volunteer agency since 1990. It’s served more than 7,000 children as well as seniors in assisted-living facilities, all of whom are screened through the state Department of Health and Human Services, schools and churches in Pierce and King counties. They’re identified for assistance either for their birthday, Easter or Christmas gifts.

The Tacoma Toy Rescue specializes in refurbishing used toys, and it depends on volunteer support, Davis said.

Quinton, a 16-year-old junior at Gig Harbor High School, said he’s always wanted to become an Eagle Scout. For the past three years, he’s gone to Mexico to build houses with a youth group, volunteered in homeless shelters, collected items for food banks and participated in a shoe drive for Project Homeless Connect.

Quinton said the Tacoma Toy Rescue requires enough toys to provide for more than 3,500 families for Christmas.

“To raise toys, I came up with something I’m passionate about, music,” he said. “I formed my own band last year consisting of my best friends, Noah Roland, Jackson LeMessurier and Drew Marshall. We call ourselves The Compellers and played several shows this summer. We even helped the town of Keyport with its fundraiser in August.

“I thought a benefit concert would be a great way to raise the toys needed.”

Regan and Michelle Balman recently opened The Gig Spot, an all-age, alcohol- and drug-free venue located in the refurbished facility which previously housed Encore! Theater.

The Balmans encouraged The Compellers to use The Gig Spot, and Quinton said they’ll perform all their original music there on Friday.

“(The) entry fee will be a new unwrapped toy with a suggested value of $10,” Quinton said. “Other scouts will help collect toys during the show. Our friends ‘Knock Kneed’ (sic) will open the show.”

Quinton asked Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church to help with the toy drive.

“Anyone wishing to donate a new toy can either come to the show on Dec. 6, where the entry fee will be a new toy, or they can drop it at the church,” Quinton said. “Please identify it with a tag that says ‘Quinton’s Eagle Project.’ ”

In case you’re wondering, all funds for this event will come form Quinton’s personal savings account; the venue rental is $250 plus other expenses. He deserves our help.

For more on his band, visit http://bit.ly/TheCompellers.

Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for The Peninsula Gateway. He can be reached at 253-884-3319 or by email at hmcmnp1000@ centurytel.net.

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