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BIRMINGHAM (Nov. 28, 2012) – Local residents are asked to help law enforcement agencies from across the state of Alabama bring holiday joy and some special surprises to patients at Children’s of Alabama by donating toys, games and other items.

On Dec. 6, representatives from the assorted agencies’ aviation units will fly to Children’s in helicopters stocked full of the donated toys. The choppers will take turns landing on the hospital’s helipad every two minutes.

Upon arriving at Children’s, some of Santa elves will be on hand to help unload the bags of toys, which will be donated to the hospital’s Sugar Plum Shop, a special event for families of children who are hospitalized during the holidays.

The helicopters will approach Children’s from one side of the building and depart from the opposite side, giving all patients and families the opportunity to witness the flights regardless of where their rooms are located.

Participating law enforcement agencies include the sheriff’s departments of Coffee, Morgan, Limestone, Etowah, Marshall, Dale/Houston, Jefferson, Russell, Tuscaloosa and Chilton counties, Tuscaloosa Police Department, Cullman City Police, Hoover Police and Alabama State Troopers. Others are expected to be added.

“We wanted to do something in the law enforcement community to make a difference in the lives of these children and to get their minds off their medical problems,” Tim McDonald, Chief Deputy and Chief Pilot of the Dale County Sheriff’s Office, said. “We thought the toy fly-in would not only give the kids something to remember, but it will also give the pilots and everyone involved something to remember, too.”

Should inclement weather prevent the flights, the toys will be delivered via ground transport. Those wishing to donate toys, games, books and other items for the Fly-In should contact one of the participating agencies listed above. A list of recommended gifts is available at

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children since 1911, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Last year, families made more than 634,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 47 other states. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. and has been ranked among the top children’s hospital programs in the country for the past three years by US News & World Report. More information is available at