In the true meaning of the Christmas holiday, Stillwater Country Club members opened their hearts to less fortunate children in our area by bringing a toy (toys) with them to their annual Christmas party Wednesday night.

Resident Marine Billie K. (BK) Shaw was on hand to accept the gifts on behalf of the Marine Corps, which will in turn be used for the Toys for Tots program.

Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which donates toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.

The program was founded in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks, with the mission “to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.” Marines passing out toys will frequently be in full dress blue uniform.

Shaw was born Oct. 4, 1919, in Eustace, Texas. He attended high school in Eustace High and college in North Texas University in Denton, Texas.

He entered the U.S. Marine Corps Sept. 15, 1941, as second lieutenant and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel Oct. 22, 1952. He resigned July 23, 1954, after serving almost 13 years.

He received many commendations during this time including:

• Three Distinguished Air Medals...One in 1943 for duty while flying Solomon Islands (presented by W.F. (Bull) Hulsey); a second one in 1943 (presented by Secretary of Navy James Forestal) and the final one in 1944 for Commander of Fighter Strike at Bogianbille (presented by Major Gen. R.J. Mitchell).

• Two American Defense Service Medals.

• American Campaign Medal.

• Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars.

• Korean Service Medal with four Bronze Stars.

• Philippine Defense Liberation Ribbon.

• United Nations Service Medal.

• Presidential Unit Citation.

• Presidential Unit Commendation Ribbon.

• Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon Bar.

• Distinguished Flying Cross with two Gold Stars.

Shaw went into business in Stillwater In 1954. He served as a City Commissioner, chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority and was president of the Oklahoma Oil Marketers Association. His three children are all Oklahoma State University graduates.

Last Sunday, Santa made a visit to the SCC and members once again helped area children by bringing a pair of mittens, a winter cap or a scarf, which were placed on their “Giving Tree,” to brighten the Christmas of a child.

Thanks to the generosity of the SCC members, many local children will have new toys to play with this holiday season and warm clothes to wear when they go outside.

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