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Special delivery: Toys arrive at Butler Memorial

| Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, 7:04 p.m.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Therapy dogs gather with Santa (Penn Township firefighter), Jamie Knauff (Mrs. Claus) and Kristi Cross (elf) at Butler Memorial Hospital, Tuesday.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Children watch as firefighters from Penn Township Volunteer Fire Department present the Mario Lemieux Foundation with toys for Austin's Playroom at Butler Memorial Hospital, Tuesday.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Elizabeth Myers, 6 months of Butler visits with Santa at Butler Memorial Hospital, Tuesday.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Feeling a little unsure about sitting on Santa's lap, Nora Narwold, 18 months, of Mars, seeks the safety of her mother, Jessica, during a visit with the Jolly Elf at the Breakfast With Santa event at the Cranberry Municipal Building, Sunday, December 15, 2013. Children and families had an opportunity to enjoy milk and cookies with Santa, and were also invited to join in on creating a holiday craft. Over 200 families turned out for the event, which was held on Saturday and Sunday.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Emily Kriess, 5 of Butler visits with Santa at Butler Memorial Hospital, Tuesday.

Butler Memorial Hospital got a holiday delivery on Tuesday.

The Penn Township Volunteer Fire Department delivered more than 250 donated toys. They'll go in Austin's Playroom, a play area for children visiting sick family members, and to Butler Memorial's Family Services Department, which will use them in therapy.

“This is a great effort. It helps to benefit so many families who are visiting the hospital and children who need services in Butler County,” said Connie Downs, a hospital spokeswoman.

People donated the toys, which the fire department and Butler Media Group collected at locations around the county.

About 40 children attended Tuesday's toy distribution and mingled with Santa, who arrived by helicopter, while Mrs. Claus and a friendly elf came by fire truck.

The Mario Lemieux Foundation created Austin's Playroom Project after the premature birth of Nathalie and Mario Lemieux's son, Austin, who spent 71 days in a neonatal intensive care unit. While his parents cared for him, there was nothing at the hospital to entertain Austin's sisters, toddlers at the time.

The foundation began making donations so that playrooms could be built in area hospitals.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or

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