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Local man, 9/11 survivor, continues Toys for Tots birthday tradition
Cory Coulter
Cory Coulter collects gifts each year on his birthday for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots. - photo by Bradley Wiseman

Cory Coulter doesn’t want to be showered with gifts on his birthday; instead, he’d rather folks bring presents for people — specifically, young people — who really need it.

For the past 16 years, Coulter has hosted an annual event on his birthday to collect gifts for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots. This year’s event was held Dec. 12 at Rooster’s Cafe.

Coulter said he wanted to give back after escaping the south tower of the World Trade Center minutes before it was attacked on 9/11.

He said what started out 16 years ago as an event that collected a couple hundred toys has grown to an effort that nets more than 2,000.

According to Coulter, the event typically collects toys of varying costs.

Master Sgt. John James showed up for the event, this is my sixth year coming here.

“They collect a ton of toys every year,” James said. “Ever since I’ve been here it’s been amazing every year. I appreciate Cory. His contribution and willingness to work with the Toys for Tots organization is huge. We couldn’t do this without folks like him.”