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What Makes An Action Figure Priceless?

Miscellaneous: Jay Cochran - 2009.12.16
What makes an action figure priceless? Like anything, what makes something valuable varies from person to person. What I find valuable might not necessarily be valuable to you. In the case of action figures or any toy, what makes it valuable to me is the simple joy it can bring to both young and old.

Some of my fondest memories from my childhood, especially this time of year (the holidays) are waking up Christmas morning and running down the stairs to find all the toys Santa had brought me. I consider myself very fortunate to have had such great parents who always tried to give me the things I asked for, even when financially they probably shouldn’t have.

I would spend hours playing with those toys; if it were up to me I wouldn’t have done anything else on Christmas Day but play with those toys. Of course, we had to put our toys down and go make the rounds to various members of extended family and other holiday-type activities (which could be nice but I always preferred playing with the toys).

Now fast forward to today and not much has changed. Believe it or not, I still collect action figures. I even made a business that stemmed originally from this collecting, and I still collect Star Wars which has managed to remain as popular today as it was back when I was a kid. The one thing that has changed is that I no longer get the greatest joy from running down Christmas morning to open those gifts and play with those toys. Instead, I find myself receiving the greatest joy from doing everything I can to collect toys to give to others who are less fortunate and might otherwise not have an opportunity to experience that joy of waking up Christmas morning to find a new toy waiting for them under the Christmas tree.

For the last 5 years, my company (ENI) has worked with the United States Marine Corps’ Toys For Tots organization to collect toys so that they can get those toys to people who need them. This year, we even launched a new initiative called “Super Heroes For Toys For Tots.” We worked with several comic book retail stores in the Washington DC area to collect toys. I choose the name “Super Heroes For Toys For Tots” not just because a lot of the ENI content is super hero-based but because the Marines who I get to interact with for Toys For Tots are real life super heroes to me – much more than fictional characters in spandex.

I consider this year’s “Super Heroes For Toys For Tots” campaign a huge success. We collected eight big bags of toys and made a cash donation of $500, and the comic shops who participated in this endeavor continue to collect toys through the end of next week (12/18/09). CLICK HERE if you would like more information on where you can go to donate a toy if you want to help out, and for those who have already donated or contributed your time and energy for this project, you have my deepest thanks.

We live in a time of vast economic, political and technological uncertainty that frequently causes me sleepless night and stress. As great as the holidays can be, there is no doubt they also bring another level of stress to all our lives. As corny as it may sound, I can say the thing that helps me through it all is the joy and happiness I get from trying to help others and by getting as many of those toys to people who need them. Honestly, I sometimes feel selfish because I think that giving and or collecting toys is as beneficial to me as it is to those I’m collecting for. Getting back to the original question I posed, what makes an action figure priceless to me is a combination of the memories I had from receiving those new toys Christmas morning as a kid to being an adult and seeing the expression on kids’ faces when they get to open a new toy and knowing in some small way I helped them to get that toy. To me there is no price tag you can place on those feelings and memories.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from all of us at ENI to all of you.

The images below are from the Mix 107.3 Toys For Tots radio broadcast which took place last Friday in Reston, VA. We delivered our 8 bags of toys and a check for $500 to the U.S. Marines there at the event.


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