Army Staff Sgt. Alex Avery’s autistic son loved the Star Wars Lego set he got for Christmas. Legos are toys that Adam, their six-year- old, can play with for hours and they help him focus.
The Lego set was one of several toys Alex and his wife, Alycia, received through Operation Homefront’s Holiday Toy Drive (HTD) program.
“I don’t think people realize how good of an opportunity (HTD) is,” Alycia said about the program. “We do the ‘four gift rule’ but I still feel like sometimes it’s nice to give them something a little more than expected so we definitely appreciate the gift. We have three kids, even if its four gifts it can be expensive.”
They also got a Lalaloopsy car for their four-year old, Harper, and their two-year old, Sammy, got a toy piano with a microphone.
Knowing they have support during the holiday season helps them cope with challenges that military families often face. The Avery family has had their share of personal challenges as well. Alex’s first wife—Adam’s mother—died after Adam was born. Alex and Alycia knew each other as kids and when he was moved from Georgia to Colorado, they reconnected. He’s been in the military for nine years and in the past six years, he has deployed twice, including the first time Alycia was pregnant in 2015. When the birth became dangerous because of preeclampsia, the Army flew Alex home from Jordan. He arrived two hours before the birth of Harper.
His most recent deployment was in 2019 from February to November. The fact that he was back from Saudi Arabia to celebrate the holidays made them even more special.
Alycia said going to the event in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was fun because Operation Homefront volunteers and staff were so friendly and eager to help pick out toys. Christmas 2019 was the second year the family participated in the program. The family has also participated in the Holiday Meals for Military (HMFM) program.
“I really appreciate that they take the time out of the day,” she said. “It means a lot to see smiling faces and see people that support us and want us to know that people are here for us, care for us and appreciate us.”