KEWANEE, Ill. (KWQC) – Sgt. Schuyler Patch, of Galva, Ill. was killed by a roadside bomb in 2009 while serving in Afghanistan. Now, eight years later, his family and friends are keeping his memory alive by giving back to those who need it most during the holidays.
“Schuyler loved kids, we both would do the Angel Tree gifts when we were in our early 20’s and we loved doing that,” Amber Patch-Troxell, Schuyler Patch’s sister sai.d
After Patch died while serving his country, his sister said she wanted to take that tradition to the next level.
“We wanted to do something to give back to the community because the community supported us so much when he passed away,” Patch-Troxell said.
Now in its eighth year, “Patchy’s Toy Drive” raises money to support the Kewanee Salvation Army Angel Tree Program, all while honoring Patch’s memory.
“These kids that we help in Kewanee are Schuyler’s kids, and so that’s very important,” Linda Bolls, Director of the Kewanee Salvation Army said. “Last year, we did about 1,000 kids and so it’s very awesome to know that Schuyler had a lot of kids, a lot of people looked up to Sgt. Patch and so it’s really an awesome thing that we’re able to do.”
“So if somebody goes to Walmart and picks an angel off the angel tree, and say they can only afford an outfit and a book, before me, that’s pretty much all they would get, and now what I do is I go in and I fill the bags,” Patch-Troxell said.
Saturday night, hundreds were at the Flemish American Club in Kewanee, for tacos and a raffle to raise money these Christmas gifts.
Patch-Troxell said it’s fundraisers like these throughout the year that help them also buy gifts for angels that don’t get picked off the tree.
“When there’s a calling, we try to help,” Patch-Troxell said.
She says this is something her brother, who was just 25 years old when he died would be proud to be a part of.
“I think he would’ve been a really good dad, he didn’t have any kids, so I kind of look at the angel tree kids as, those are his kids,” Patch-Troxell said. “I know he would love this event and he would be super happy that we’re helping out kids for sure.”
Patch-Troxell says they will go shopping on Black Friday for the angel tree gifts.
Last year they were able to raise enough money to fill 26 shopping carts full of toys and clothes for children. Patch-Troxell hopes to fill even more this year.
You can find more information about “Patchy’s Toy Drive” on their Facebook Page.