Christmas for Our Troops ships 85 packages over-seas

Photo by Paula Crits
Sue Tocco (left) and Victor Stroia look over some of the hundreds of gifts donated for the Christmas for Our Troops program at a celebration party Dec. 5 at the Grand Event in Trenton. Eighty-five boxes of gifts ranging from candy to socks were packaged by volunteers and are being shipped to local service members stationed overseas.

Eighty-five boxes jam-packed with candy, movies, books, socks toiletries and much more will be delivered to military personnel overseas for Christmas, thanks to Trenton resident Sue Tocco, founder of the Christmas for Our Troops gift donation program.

Tocco, manager of the Grand Event in Trenton, got the idea for the program last year when her son, Petty Officer Edward Schafer, was stationed in Bah-rain. He is currently stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, near Seattle.

After Schafer told his mother about how hard it was for his fellow troops to be away from their families during Christmas, Tocco quickly issued an appeal for donations of gifts on Facebook and enlisted the help of Grand Event owner Victor Stroia.

Stroia distributed fliers about the program to businesses and offered the hotel as the collection point for donations.

Before long, 45 boxes had been filled with all sorts of items and shipped to the troops. In addition, hundreds of local schoolchildren sent greeting cards to the service members.

“You don’t know how much joy the packages brought,” Schafer said, “and the cards were the top-ping on the ice cream.”

This year, donations poured in at a Christmas for Our Troops party hosted by the Grand Event Dec. 5. A pasta buffet and desserts were served without charge to more than 200 people, including family members of troops. Entertainment was provided by the classic rock ’n’ roll band Rude Dog.

In addition, raffles were held for a Darren McCarty Detroit Red Wings hockey jersey, four Red Wings hockey tickets, two photographs by Patti Izzo and several gift baskets.

The 85 boxes, packed by wives of troops and other volunteers, are on their way to Bahrain, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Japan and other locations where local troops are stationed, Tocco said.

Proceeds from the raffles will be used to pay postage for shipping the packages, she said, adding that cash contributions are still welcome. Tocco can be reached at 634-752-9579.

Ticket offer announced
Olympia Entertainment has announced a buy-one, get-one-free ticket offer for a number of upcoming shows at the Fox Theatre in support of service personnel who are home for the holidays and have fought or continue to fight for our country.

The shows are “Karen Newman Christmas Eve on Woodward Avenue,” Dec. 18; “Manneheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis,” Dec. 21; “Stomp,” March 14; and “Bring It On the Musical,” April 5 and 6.

Tickets can be purchased at the Fox Theatre box office for select seats while supplies last, with proper military identification in hand, an Olympia spokeswoman said. The offer is available through each show date.

For additional information, call 313-471-6611 or go to

‘Heroes’ Night’ set at Fisher
“Heroes’ Night” will be observed at the Dec. 18 performance of “War Horse,” the five-time Tony Award-winning play that is being staged through Jan. 5 at the Fisher Theatre.

Veterans and military families are being offered savings up to $35 per ticket for the special performance and will have an opportunity to view the horses along the Second Avenue entrance to the Fisher Building.

Highlights of the evening will include a preshow presentation of the colors, followed by the singing of the national anthem.

“Heroes’ Night” is being presented in cooperation with the Arsenal of Democracy Chapter of the Association of the United States Army. The code USVET should be used when purchasing tickets at, 800-982-2787 or at the box office, a Fisher Theatre spokeswoman said.

For ticket prices and curtain times of perform-ances, access the above numbers or