OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — It’s been 32 years but Dustin Fisher can still remember the big box under the Christmas tree- the one with a train set in it.
“My mom and dad said I went berserk,” he chuckles. “I was ready to set it up that morning.”
Maybe it was because times were a little tough that Christmas.
The oil bust cost his dad a job.
The tracks of life can lead through some dark tunnels but some light always seemed to shine through.
Fisher points out, “It may have been small. It may not have been much. But there was something under the tree.”
Fisher only found out later that another family at church had come forward to buy that train set, a set that still works, and that Dustin now treasures.
He says, “I guess I’m just a big kid because I like to see the joy it brings other kids.”
He still likes to play with trains, but his own track came full circle.
That kind gesture stayed on the rails in his head.
In 2015, he started the Operation Christmas Train Set Foundation and his own train soon loaded up with a lot of other gifts intended for needy families.
Dustin estimates, “By that first year we’d given away 75 train sets and more than 200 toys. Then it started progressively growing.”
His foundation went from kind gesture to full-time job, from a couple of train sets to hundreds of donated toys gathered at local drives all across central Oklahoma.
Leading up to Christmas, his parents’ front room transforms into a toy warehouse.
The light at the end of his own dark tunnel may have been an oncoming train.
But Dustin Fisher didn’t get run over.
He hopped on and started giving back.
“I get to see the joy on their faces,” he says, “that I experienced when somebody helped me.”
The Operation Christmas Train Set Foundation estimates more than 12,000 toys have been distributed since 2015.
There are three separate toy drives slated for November 25, 2019.