Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — A West Jordan toymaker was recently featured on Mike Rowe’s Facebook show, “Returning The Favor,” for his years of service to children around the world.
Alton Thacker, 82, has made and donated more than 800,000 wooden cars to children in his free time over the last 16 years. Thacker operates a nonprofit called Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids in West Jordan where he and several volunteers make wooden toy cars to donate to children.
Many of the cars have been donated to hospitals in Utah, such as Primary Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children, but the toys have also been sent all over the world to Afghanistan, Brazil, Dominican Republican, Ghana, Iraq, Korea, Mexico, Russia and Thailand. Last year, the foundation gave away 85,000 toys to many children in need.
“To see the life light up over a little block of wood with four wheels,” Thacker said, “it’s sheer joy.”
Rowe, who hosts a show where he gives back to individuals for their service to their communities, was recently made aware of the toy operation and worked in conjunction with his family to honor Thacker.
The heartwarming 26-minute episode documents the toy making operation of Thacker and the volunteers who help him. Thacker tells Rowe that his hope is to make at least 1 million cars, and said he believes he can do it in the next year.
For his dedicated service to the community, Rowe and his crew planned a parade for Thacker, where they gave him a detailed ATV that looks like one of the cars he makes, as well as $10,000 to help pay rent for his workshop.
Last year, Thacker was informed that an individual who donated money to pay for the cost of the workshop could no longer pay the bills. Following a KSL story in April 2017, Thacker, who doesn’t like to ask for donations, received an outpouring of support to help fund the foundation’s costs.
Watch the full video below.