It was 30 years ago — 1990. Madonna’s “Vogue” and the Wilson Phillips hit “Hold On” were playing on the radio, people were going to the movie theaters to see Tom Cruise in “Days of Thunder” and Northumberland Police Chief Martin E. Concini Jr. had an idea about what to do with lost and unclaimed bicycles recovered by his department.
The chief along with members of his department teamed up with Sunshine Bike Shop owner Francis Hummel to repair and refurbish some of the recovered bicycles and distribute them as gifts to children in Northumberland and Point Township.
It was a kindhearted community effort that ended just two years later when Concini passed away following a long battle with cancer.
Six years later, in 1998, his efforts inspired members of the Northumberland Borough Police Department to revive a holiday toy drive for less fortunate children in the former police chief’s memory. It is a program that has grown each year since.
The Northumberland Police Department is now accepting donations for this year’s Martin E. Concini Jr. Memory Toy Drive.
“We help people from all over, from Milton to Shamokin, because a child is a child,” said Northumberland Police Chief C.L. “Butch” Kriner. “Anyone who needs it, we help,” he said.
That was Concini’s wish. “He was my mentor, my friend, and I wanted to keep his memory alive,” Kriner said.
Officer Rachel Shear, who has been part of the department for the last six years, said the response has been great. “The program is phenomenal,” she said. “It helps the community and the kids. The generosity is always outstanding.”
Toys for children from newborns up to 16-year-olds can be dropped off at the following locations: Northumberland National Bank at 245 Front St., Priestley-Forsyth Memorial Library at 100 King St., Pineknotter Brewing at 245 Front St. and Surplus Outlet at 281 Point Township Drive (Route 11).
The Concini Memorial Toy Drive is just one of the many charitable efforts to help the less fortunate during the holidays and throughout the year. Let’s all find one or more and give. It may be one of the best ways to deliver some refreshing peace and joy during this difficult winter season.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.