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Robots and Tots: Raytheon and Mechanical "Elves" Help Collect Toys for Tots

Raytheon volunteers enlisted a little mechanical muscle to load donations for the U.S. Marines' Toys for Tots program.

"Medic" the robot was designed and piloted by a team of high school students from Granada Hills High School to help load 1,000 toys collected by Raytheon employees in El Segundo, Calif. as part of the annual Toys for Tots toy drive.

Robotic "elves" bearing colorful toys whirred along a sidewalk in Southern California on Dec. 18 as Raytheon volunteers enlisted a little mechanical muscle to load donations for the U.S. Marines' Toys for Tots program.

The four robots, all of them built by Raytheon-sponsored high school teams, helped load more than 1,000 toys at the company's El Segundo, Calif. offices, part of a companywide effort to ensure that children everywhere have gifts during the holidays.

"It is amazing to see the participation from all the employees here – the charitable and giving attitude that they have," said Captain David Wi of the U.S. Marines.

Raytheon is a major supporter of the Toys for Toys program, with collection bins set up in dozens of offices. Raytheon also donated $5,000 to support the program.

"I'm just looking around at all these robots and am so impressed at what these high school students have designed," said SAS VP of Contracts Kurt Kutyla. "I'm just hoping they keep us in mind as they get ready to graduate from college."

The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December. Over the years the Marines have established close working relationships with social welfare agencies, churches and other local community agencies that help identify children in need in local communities.

The robots on site were designed and piloted by Los Angeles-area high school students participating in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) program. The robots are similar to the FIRST robots that opened and led the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade last month.

A robot named 'Blitzen,' built specifically to carry presents, rolls up to the truck to help the U.S. Marines load toys. ' We wanted something simple and festive that would light up the day for the children,' said a FIRST Robotics student.

FIRST provides engineers as mentors to high school teams who design robots to compete in a rigorous challenge that involves robotic skill, ingenuity and accuracy. FIRST has donated over $16 million in scholarships to students.

Raytheon is a major supporter of the U.S. armed services and related outreach efforts. The company sponsors the Wounded Warrior Project, the Student Veterans of America, the United Service Organizations and a number of other programs designed to support military personnel and improve local communities.

"To see all the people who take time out of their day and go out of their way to get toys for children who they have never met displays the quality of the community we have here," said Captain David Wi of the U.S. Marines.

Last Updated: 10/24/2014

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