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Trading Christmas toys for a day on the rocks

What started as a last-minute idea in 2007 to provide Christmas toys to Johnson County children has grown into an annual project for Doug Haynes and his off-highway four-wheeling buddies.
August 7th marked the third Toys For Rocks event at Callalantee’s OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) Park. Haynes says 172-plus trucks showed up on Saturday morning bringing toys to trade for a day of riding on the rough mountain terrain. If the drivers weren’t loaded with toys when they arrived, they brought monetary donations for purchases. Most made a three-to-six hour trip one-way with one truck coming all the way from Daytona Beach, Florida.
Haynes and his wife, Lisa, again provided a hearty meal for the participants. Although the couple work hard to coordinate the entire event, they are quick to give credit to the four-wheeling community and the local business sponsors. “Without all of them and their warm hearts, none of this would be possible,” says Doug.
Flo Bellamy, director of the Johnson County/Mountain City Community Center, has been involved with the project since the beginning. As a volunteer in many capacities, she is familiar with the needs of the community. This year, they also sought the help of some local Headstart teachers in the county to make sure every child has a toy in their hands this Christmas.
Visit www.nc4x4.com to learn more about off-highway four-wheeling. Click on “Past Events” for more pictures of the Toys for Rocks event.