Torrington toy drive recognizes 3 top donors

Representatives of the three largest contributors to the Torrington Firefighters Association's annual toy drive were awarded plaques Wednesday for their efforts. From left, Sharon Okraska and Shirley Durante of O&G Industries, Bonnie and Mike Hand of Staples Tavern, and Phil Dzurnak of the Torrington Lions Club. Taylor Rapalyea/Republican-American
December 18, 2015

Through toy drives and fundraising, three organizations were able to raise more than $10,000 worth of toys for local kids in the Torrington Firefighters Association's annual toy drive.

O&G Industries, Staples Tavern and the Torrington Lions Club were honored for their continued work with the toy drive on Wednesday morning at the Torrington Fire Department. Lt. Mark Garrison handed out plaques to representatives, and told them the drive couldn't happen without them.

"You've all played an integral part of making this a success year after year," Garrison said.

Shirley Durante has retired from O&G, but she has continued to work with the toy drive for 25 years.

"I just can't stand to see kids go without," Durante said before the ceremony.

Durante was joined by Sharon Okraska from O&G, Phil Dzurnak of the Lions Club, and Bonnie and Mike Hand of Stables Tavern.

The association has been running the toy drive since the early 1980s, Garrison said.

He wanted to thank the regular contributors before he handed off the responsibility of running the drive to firefighter Brian Parks.

"I wanted to do something before I passed the torch," he said.

The toys will be distributed to FISH, Friendly Hands and Torrington Youth Services.

Garrison also credited McDonald's on East Main Street, Torrington Municipal and Teachers Federal Credit Union, and Stop & Shop on East Main Street for being longtime contributors to the toy drive.