Commander, Submarine Group Two


Pre-Commissioning Unit North Dakota (SSN 784) Sailors pose with the
Guth family who all donated nearly 200 toys for the U.S. Marine
Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, Dec. 21.

PCU North Dakota, Local Teenager Combine Forces to Donate Gifts for Toys for Tots

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Pre-Commissioning Unit North Dakota (SSN 784) joined forces with a 16-year old local teenager to donate nearly 200 toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program Dec. 21.

Danielle Guth, a sophomore at the Saint Bernard School in Uncasville, didn't spend the days leading up to her 16th birthday thinking about all the gifts she would get, like so many do. Instead of focusing on herself for her Sweet 16 birthday party, celebrated Dec. 3, she organized a plan for all guests to bring an unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots Program. More than 100 people not only celebrated Guth's birthday but joined her cause to remember others this holiday season.

PCU North Dakota Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Jeremiah Minner is Guth's neighbor. He's known the Guth family for the past two years and their daughter frequently baby sits for his three-year old son. Minner said that Guth devised the plan shortly after her 15th birthday party. As the year progressed Guth's plan matured to include the PCU North Dakota, when Minner found out he was going to the submarine.

"On her own and without influence she asked to donate the toys from her Sweet 16 birthday party in conjunction with the PCU North Dakota," said Minner, who checked into the command this month.

Guth's mother, Deborah, added that the idea to give back to others was solely her daughter's doing. Deborah reflected on her daughter's selfless act for other children who weren't as fortunate and recalled a conversation she had with her daughter nearly a year ago.

"When we were planning for her birthday party, Danielle told me that 'When it comes time for my Sweet 16 birthday party instead of everyone bringing gifts for me, I want everyone to bring Toys for Tots,'" said Deborah.

Minner added that this year the boat celebrated their first holiday together as a command and held their first holiday party Dec. 16, which marked the first of many to stretch the lifespan of this Virginia-class submarine. All 47 presently assigned Sailors followed Guth's lead and brought unwrapped toys to be donated to Toys for Tots.

"Giving back to the community is what these Sailors are about and it wouldn't surprise me that these Sailors might bring more than two presents for the charitable organization," said Minner prior to the party.

According to the Toys for Tots Program's website, the program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community where the campaign is conducted.

North Dakota will be the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the state of North Dakota.