Local Marine Honored at Toys For Tots Holiday Gift Drive & Tree Lighting Ceremony

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Scotto Brothers will host its fourth annual “Marines Toys For Tots” Holiday Gift Drive on Monday, December 9 at Fox Hollow Catering and hope to collect a record 1,000 toys, all of which will go to less fortunate children this holiday season.

Toys for Tots

Every year we host this celebration to honor those in our armed forces and to support less fortunate families across Long Island.

Scotto Brothers will host its fourth annual “Marines Toys For Tots” Holiday Gift Drive on Monday, December 9 at Fox Hollow Catering from 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Between 300 and 400 people are expected to attend, and Scotto Brothers hopes to collect a record 1,000 toys, all of which will go to less fortunate children this holiday season. A special ceremony will also be held to honor Sergeant Michael Blake, of Brooklyn, NY, who has served in the United States Marine Corps since 2001.

Children and families attending the event will enjoy live entertainment provided by North Shore Studio of Dance, activities & crafts plus they will also have a chance to take photos with Santa.

Attendees are asked to bring an unwrapped toy for donation and stay for a fun filled evening, which will then concluded with a tree lighting ceremony at 8:15/8:30 p.m.

“Every year we host this annual celebration to honor those in our armed forces, and to support less fortunate families across Long Island. Our veterans have risked their lives so we can have the freedoms we have today, this is just a small way to give back to them. This is what the holiday season is all about…giving to others. Scotto Brothers has that built into our history, and the impact of Toys For Tots grows each year. We are honored to have Sergeant Blake join us for this event, and we invite everyone to participate, donate and join in lighting the tree to begin the 2013 holiday season,” President of Scotto Brothers Anthony Scotto said.

The event will include a marine color guard from the 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines division in Garden City and there will be live entertainment provided by North Shore Studio of Dance, live music provided by Top Hat Entertainment, activities, crafts and desserts compliments of Fox Hollow and photos with Santa will be donated by ADA Studios.

To register for this free event, visit http://www.thefoxhollow.com/events/toys-for-tots-toy-drive/.

ABOUT Sergeant Michael F. Blake - United States Marine Corps

Sergeant Michael F. Blake was born on September 22, 1981 in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated from Aviation High School in Queens in 1999. On September 24, 2001, less than two weeks after the terrorist attacks at The World Trade Center, Sgt Blake enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, answering the call to fight the War on Terrorism.

Sergeant Blake attended Marine Corps Recruit Training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. Upon graduation from recruit training he transitioned to Marine Combat Training, School of Infantry East aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Following his infantry training Sergeant Blake was assigned the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) as a motor vehicle operator and attended a rigorous 8 week course at Ft Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Sergeant Blake’s first duty assignment was to 1st Battalion 12th Marine Regiment, Charlie Battery at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. In 2004, Sgt Blake began his first deployment to the Fallujah, Al Anbar province, Iraq for Operation Phantom Fury. Returning from Iraq in 2005, Sgt Blake made the difficult choice to leave active service and returned home to Brooklyn. He immediately began working his degree and volunteered coaching youth football in his free time. After 2 years of inactive service, Sgt Blake returned to active duty and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina as a motor vehicle operator. While there, Sergeant Blake deployed twice more to Iraq in 2007 and 2008.

Sgt Blake then deployed a 3rd time in 3 years to Afghanistan 2009. Sgt Blake’s unit played a vital role in removing Taliban fighters from Helmand Province, Afghanistan. During vehicle patrol in January 2010, Sergeant Blake’s convoy was attacked with an enemy IED and small arms fire wounding him and several other Marines. Despite his wounds, Sgt Blake and his fellow Marines repelled the enemy attack and were able to continue on with the convoy.

Upon his return from Afghanistan, Sergeant Blake was reassigned his current duty station at 1st Marine Corp District, Marine Corps Recruiting Command, as the motor transport dispatch chief.

Sgt Blake’s awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon with Gold Star, Korean Defense Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, and NATO Medal – ISAF Afghanistan. In 2013, Sergeant Blake married the love of his life Karen and has 2 children, Michael Jr. and Kellis.

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Vicki Colacicco
Scotto Brothers
516-224-8184
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