Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

For 50 years, North Carolina Army vet has made toys for kids in need at Christmas

Jim Annis can turn any piece of wood into a toy that will be treasured forever.

For the past 50 years, the 80-year-old Army veteran has spent countless hours carving, sculpting, and sanding wooden blocks, transforming them into cars, piggy banks, and fire trucks. When Christmas rolls around, he donates the toys — usually about 300 every year — to the Salvation Army in Sanford, North Carolina. "When the Salvation Army gives out the food and clothes to people in this area, I give out my toys," he told ABC11.

Growing up in a family with five kids, money was tight, and Annis can remember what it was like to wake up on Christmas with no presents waiting for him under the tree. Those memories are what push him every year to make hundreds of gifts. "I love when people ask me how much do I get paid for making these toys," he said. "I tell them my pay is when I see the smile on kids' faces. I hope to be able to do this until my toes curl up."