From left, Sherri Deveney, Rangers Francis Lippincott and Samantha Smith, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, and a U.S. Marine representative for Toys for Tots (who wished not to be named).

MEDIA CONTACT:  Julie Willmot

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. Each year as the holidays rolled around, Mercer County Park Commission Ranger Dave Deveney and his wife, Sherri Deveney, were known to rally friends, family and co-workers to open their hearts to children by donating toys during the season. Sadly, Dave Deveney died suddenly earlier this year, and in homage to his generous spirit, his fellow rangers of the Mercer County Park Commission, along with Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, devoted this year’s holiday Toy Drive to his memory.

Yesterday, at the Park Commission Headquarters at the Historic Hunt House, Sherri Deveney thanked the Rangers and Executive Hughes for honoring her husband. “He would have been thrilled by this outpouring of support,” Mrs. Deveney said, surrounded by the thousands of collected toys and gifts. The Deveneys have been longtime volunteers for the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots, and Mrs. Deveney recounted the fun the couple had participating in the annual gift wrap marathon, which calls for wrapping the gifts and placing age-appropriate tags on them.

 “The generosity of the employees and residents of Mercer County has been awe-inspiring, as we received more toys this year than any other year,” Hughes said during yesterday’s delivery to the Marines. “This was a symbolic gesture for the county to return to Ranger Deveney all he has given to the community and to Mercer County.”

“I’m thrilled but not surprised that it was our best year ever,” said Park Commission Executive Director Kevin Bannon. “Many thanks to all who stepped up, particularly our Park Ranger staff. I’m so happy that Sherri Deveney could join us for the presentation.”

Among the donated gifts were several signed copies of the children’s book, “Oh Brother, A Nico and Tugger Tale,” by Kimberly Sentek, who works in the county’s Human Services Department.

Toys for Tots joins the many other groups over the years that have benefited from the generosity of Mercer County employees and residents.

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