12/3/20 Pasco, WA The Columbia Basin Veterans Center is teaming...

by Stacey Azure


Pasco, WA

The Columbia Basin Veterans Center is teaming up with Toys for Tots this year to help kids have a great Christmas. Santa, the Marines and CBVC helped kick off the campaign Wednesday afternoon.

“This is absolutely fantastic. My assistant Matt Sammons is the one that connected it and got the application out and we were able to become partners with the organization,” said Steve Lehto, Executive Director of the Columbia Basin Veterans Center.

Watch Marines and Santa Deliver Toys to Columbia Basin Veterans Center

“As a Marine we have a lot pride in our culture and the Toys for Tots is something that has long been running for the reservists in the Marine Corp. So to be a part of that this year is special to me, especially during these times because the kids are in so much need,” said Matt Sammons, Executive Administrative Assistant with Columbia Basin Veterans Center, who is a Marine combat veteran.

Columbia Basin Veterans Center received help from Marines Cpl. Christopher Linck, Cpl. Abe Diaz and Santa Clause himself to set up the Toys for Tots bins that are located near the doorway of the center. For all 3 men, being a part of Toys for Tots is special.

“It’s so important, especially this year. “There’s a lot of people hurting this year, some relief and some toys can make a huge difference,” said Cpl. Christopher link, who is a Purple Heart recipient.

 (Read Cpl. Linck’s Story)

“This is actually my first time doing this and it’s a huge honor and I’m looking forward to seeing some boys and girls happy to see their presents,” said Cpl. Abe Diaz.

“I love this. It’s great to give million upon millions of toys to kids that would otherwise not receive toys. I think that’s great. I think the Marines do a wonderful work,” said Kenn Lehto, aka Santa Clause.

Veterans and the public can donate Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 1020 S. 7th Ave. Pasco, WA 99301.

Franklin PUD is a partner with Columbia Basin Veterans Center. FPUD is helping spread the word about the utility assistance CBVC provides to veterans in our region. For more information on programs to help veterans please visit where you’ll find links to Columbia Basin Veterans Center and American Patriot Service Corp.

For interview requests, contact Steve Lehto at or Matt Sammons at Call 509-545-6558.