MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – More than two dozen NMU ROTC cadets started their Friday morning early with some physical activity. Their mission was to carry toys they’ve been collecting and march 3 miles from campus to the WJMN Local 3 studios and make their donation to Toys for Tots.

This group laced up their boots at 5 a.m. and broke from traditional uniforms in favor of a some more festive attire for the trip. They arrived at the studio just over an hour later to deliver dozens of gifts.

It’s a tradition they started last year and were more than willing to put in the miles again in hopes of spreading some Christmas cheer.

ROTC cadet and NMU Senior Alexis Dickie coordinated Friday’s activity.

“Today we cadets who, for the last couple of weeks have been collecting toys from the school, family members, friends, and roommates.” Dickie continued, “Today we rucked from the wildcat statue at NMU. We rucked about 3 miles here and we’ll ruck three miles back. We carried the toys on our backs.”

Dickie made the trek as a Junior at NMU and knew she wanted to keep the tradition going.

“I feel really happy that we were able to do this. I really like some of the outreach programs we’re able to do with the program. This is one my favorite things we’ve been able to do is just collecting the toys and bringing them here. Christmas morning we’re going to wake up and know that we helped a lot of kids have a good Christmas.”

Jack Teichman also made this a return trip. He said while the ROTC participates in a lot of volunteer opportunities, this event is one the cadets get to organize.

“A lot of these toys are from cadets in our program. It was definitely a lot more cadet involved than in years prior.”

We caught up with one of the cadets in November about their collection efforts and why community service is so important to the ROTC.

Local 3 News would like to thank these cadets for their service and for collecting an incredible donation.

If you would like to donate to Toys for Tots, go here.