Family of Calhoun native holding annual Holiday Toy Drive at Boys and Girls Club this Saturday

Lucretia Phillips, sixth from left, the widow of Leonard Phillips, and their daughter, Tahnicia Phillips, front row, center, pose with a number of family and friends who volunteered for the Toy Drive last year. Inset: Leonard Phillips.

The family of Calhoun native Leonard Phillips will again be hosting the annual Holiday Toy Drive at the Boys & Girls Club of Gordon County on Saturday, Dec. 10.

The family of Leonard Phillips, who born and raised in Calhoun, began the annual toy drive in memory of Leonard, who graduated from Calhoun High School in the early 1970’s. Leonard Phillips married and moved to Cobb County, where he raised his family and worked at Lockheed Martin in Marietta, the job he was preparing to retire from after 30 years of service, when his life was cut short in Cobb County after a tragic motorcycle wreck in August 2008.

The driver of the car that hit Leonard Phillips, Luciano Argueta-Aleman, was intoxicated, according to Cobb County Police. Argueta-Aleman fled the scene and has never been apprehended.

Leonard Phillips was an avid motorcycle rider and enthusiast and participated in many charity motorcycle rides through the years; he had a heart to help others in need.

To try to move forward after the accident, the tight-knit family, which includes Leonard’s wife Lucretia, daughter Tahnicia Phillips and son Marc, decided to channel their grief into something good. “The year after he was killed, our family wanted to do something in his name to help families and victims of crime, just like us,” said Phillips. “We started the Leonard Phillips Foundation, which was initially established to help injured motorcyclists and their families with financial assistance and other needs. We are still in the beginning stages, but we are already giving back to the community and are giving back beyond motorcycle injuries and victims of crime.”

It was important for the family to hold an event each year in Calhoun, the community full of Leonard’s family, the community he never forgot. “Four years ago, we began doing the Holiday Party for the Boys and Girls Club of Gordon County because Dad was from Calhoun, and this town meant a lot to him.

“(During the event), we give Christmas to the kids,” said Phillips. “We have Santa visiting, we let them shop for toys, we have games and they can win different prizes, there’s an activity station so they can make stockings and do different crafts. It’s just a fun day.”

Phillips said the foundation could not make this event possible without the help of many sponsors, which is where community support helps.

This year’s Fourth Annual Holiday Toy Drive to bring the holiday spirit to less fortunate children of Gordon County, as well as raise awareness for the unique causes of the Leonard Phillips Foundation, will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10. The foundation continues to seek donations for approximately 30 kids, ages 5 to 15. The event will be held at a local Boys & Girls Club. Each child will be able to shop for their favorite holiday items, as well as make a personalized stocking. Some of the items on their wish lists include: DVD’s and books; dolls and action figures; board games and puzzles; toys and stocking stuffers; science kits; watches; undergarments and hair products; sports apparel and equipment.

Anyone who would like more information on the foundation, or who would like to donate to this event can call 770-324-7802 or visit www.theleonardphillipsfoundation.org.