MIAMI COUNTY — One thing every child needs is a warm coat.
The Miami County Sheriff’s Office teams with Sunset Cleaners in Troy, Piqua, and West Milton each year to accept children’s coats for distribution to needy kids. While many local groups compete to raise the most coats for the cause, students at Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua have won the contest for the eleventh year in a row.
“About 430 coats were collected,” said Kathy Voris, public relations coordinator for UVCC. “Three hundred nineteen were raised by the HVAC students alone, and that’s why they’re here loading today. The program is made up of juniors and seniors, and both levels worked together to reach their final number.”
UVCC student Makenzie Ranley of Sidney managed to tally the most coats of anyone in the group, with a total of 75.
“I posted an ad to our group on Facebook,” Ranly explained. “We had 62 members, and a lot of them commented back, so I went around picked up what they had. I’m in early childhood education, so I reached out to a lot of the parents of my pre-schoolers, too.”
The winners of the coat drive will receive a free pizza party for their efforts, but officials at the Upper Valley Career Center feel that the principles enstilled by the drive are the true reward.
“We’ve been doing this now for 15 years,” said Tony Trapp, apprenticeship coordinator at UVCC. “Some of these students don’t know what it’s like to be able to give back to people in need or those less fortunate. One of the biggest things for them to realize is the reward in being able to give back, rather than always being the receiver.”
Roger Voisard, supervisor of trades and industry at UVCC, agreed with Trapp’s statements.
“That’s one of the main things the Career Center tries to emphasize with all of its programs: community service.” Voisard stated.
“Operation Cover-Up” is in its 27th year of operation. Coats will continue to be accepted at Troy, Piqua and West Milton Sunset Cleaners and the Miami County Sheriff’s Office. The deadline for coats is Monday, Oct. 23.
Coats will be distributed at the Miami County Fairgrounds shop and crop building on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 9-11 a.m.
Reach Cody Willoughby at firstname.lastname@example.org