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Victor Ghirra’s spirit of giving lives on

By Lorraine Graves

Published 4:23 PST, Wed December 4, 2019

No one even knew that Victor Ghirra did it. 

Year after year, he quietly spent thousands of dollars on toys. Every Christmas, he would take them to Children’s Hospital.

When asked who to thank, this father of four always replied, “It doesn’t matter who I am or where I am from. These toys are for the kids and that’s all you need to know.”

Since his passing in 2007, others have picked up the mantle—including the Richmond Sunrise Rotary Club.

“Rotarians receive joy in giving back to their communities, especially at Christmas,” says Debbie Tablotney, one of the local Rotarians.

Each year, Sunrise Rotary Club dedicates their first meeting in December to the Victor Ghirra Toy Drive. Members bring unwrapped toys to donate. 

“Each member shares a special memory of Christmas past and how their chosen toy donation possibly sparked that memory,” says Tablotney.

Ghirra was only 37 when he died unexpectedly in his sleep. It wasn’t until his funeral that word seeped out. He’d been a philanthropist, a very quiet one. 

After his death, the hospital told Ghirra’s family of his generous practice. They decided to keep his spirit alive through this tradition. 

His brother Bobby Ghirra summed it up at the time, “His passion for children and caring for children was just extraordinary.”

Tablotney says the public can help keep this generous man’s memory alive by pitching in at this year’s annual toy count, to be held at the Riverside Banquet Halls, 14500 River Rd. from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 14.

Bring an unwrapped toy for donation. Once there, you can have a picture taken with Santa as well a have some of the hearty fare that the Riverside Banquet Halls are famous for. 

“There will be lots of food and fun,” Tablotney says. 

Go to richmondsunriserotary.com for more information or on joining this Rotary club or donating to the toy drive.

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