Club plays Santa, shops for toys

CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON/The Daily Sentinel—Eric Blevens, left, president of the Aktion Club, and club adviser Rick Nisley shop Monday afternoon at Target in Grand Junction’s Mesa Mall.

Eric Blevens and Rick Nisley already had been down the Nerf football, shark bike helmet and princess bubbles aisles, and now they were in front of the games.

“Grab a Candyland,” Nisley told Blevens. “That’s always a good one.”

Blevens complied, then had an idea of his own: “What I always thought was good is dominos,” he said, pointing to the games on a high shelf. “See? Because it’s $3.89.”

Nisley agreed, and into the red basket it went.

And on Christmas morning, a child is going to open that gift and be glad for dominos to play, glad that Blevens had the idea, glad that members of the Aktion Club sold all those candy bars to raise about $1,000 to buy presents Monday at Target — and Target added a $200 gift card to their shopping spree.

The Aktion Club, sponsored by Kiwanis, is a community service organization for people with disabilities.

The majority of local members are Mesa Developmental Services clients who bus tables at pancake breakfasts and sell nuts or candy bars year-round to raise money for annual gift buying.

For 10 years they have donated the presents to the Harley Owner’s Group Toy Run, held in conjunction with The Salvation Army.

Harley Owners will meet with Aktion Club members on Dec. 6 to pick up the toys.

“I want to have kids enjoy all of the different presents they can get,” said Blevens, 32, Aktion Club president. “Sometimes they might not have very many.”

So, with Kiwanis volunteers — including Nisley, who’s an Aktion Club adviser — Blevens and Joy Sines, 53, Jimmie Moore, 62, and Jeff Musselmann, 49, piled toys and books and clothes into four carts.

“I saw the movie ‘The Avengers,’ ” Blevens said, pointing to rows of action figures.

“OK, grab one of those,” Nisley advised.

Oh, sure, they all have ideas about what they themselves would like for Christmas, but Monday they were focused on the children who are going to be so thrilled Christmas morning.

They could almost picture it: the joy, the smiles, and their own smiles were just as happy.


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