Family keeping the Christmas spirit

Suehrings collect items for Toys for Tots at annual party

Carol Wagner Leader Correspondent

Photo by Carol Wagner Alvin and Marilynn Suehring hold gifts that their family brought to their annual Christmas party this year. All the gifts will be donated to Toys for Tots.

The family of Alvin and Marilynn Suehring has a long association with the United States Marine Corps. Alvin Suehring enlisted when he was 20 years old; their only son also served, and now a grandson has enlisted as well.

So it made sense for their family – which includes seven children, 18 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren – to collect Toys for Tots at their annual Christmas celebration. The idea was suggested by one of the Suehrings’ daughters, Debbie Sanders, and everyone agreed.

“We’ve always donated to Toys for Tots,” Marilynn Suehring added.

The family’s Christmas gathering has traditionally been held the second Saturday of December at the Pella Town Hall. This year, 59 people attended.

The Toys for Tots program was founded by a U.S. Marine Core major in the late 1940s – just a few years before Alvin Suehring enlisted.

“Everybody else was going,” said Alvin Suehring, now 87 years old. “I thought that was my job to protect my country.”

He was in North Korea from 1950-51, serving near the combat zone. As a truck driver, he delivered supplies and often transported injured soldiers. When he returned, he was in the Reserves for six years.

Suehring returned to farming in the town of Pella and also was a welder at Walker Forge for 31 years. He met his wife at church, and Marilynn Suehring worked at Noritage for 21 years after raising the children. They have been married 64 years and still live on the farm in the town of Pella where Alvin was raised.

Alvin Suehring is a member of the Clintonville VFW and American Legion. Two years ago, he went on the Honor Flight.