KSL TV

Mike Rowe makes online plea to help West Jordan toymaker

By Ashley Kewish, KSL TV | Posted - Feb. 23, 2020 at 7:15 a.m.



WEST JORDAN — A West Jordan toymaker has been getting attention after television’s Mike Rowe went on Facebook Live to ask people to donate to Tiny Tim’s Toys.

You’ve probably heard of Santa Claus at the North Pole, but what about Alton Thacker in West Jordan? He and a group of self-declared, “retired old men” have been getting together for years to make toys.

Their goal is to make sure every child in the world will get at least one toy in their life.

Alton and his group of elves have always called West Jordan their home, but they realized they needed more space to reach their goal and they moved into their new location a few days ago.

In an unassuming warehouse just across the street from South Valley Regional Airport, a group of men in their 70s and 80s carefully craft toy cars.

“We have 45 old men like me who don’t want to go home and die,” said Alton Thacker, the founder of Tiny Tim’s Toys. “They want to do something with the rest of their life.”

Instead of the peace and what Thacker calls the boredom of the elderly years, the group has opted for the sound of saws and drilling. They recently reached a big milestone.

“Do you believe in miracles?” Thacker asked. “Well, another miracle happened at the toy factory.”

They have made more than one million toys for children all over the world.

“We just want to keep making toys,” Thacker said with a smile.

The challenge, Thacker said, is they’re running out of supplies and need a little help themselves.

“We need more lumber,” he said.

Hardwood to be exact.

Friday morning on Facebook, Mike Rowe of TVs “Dirtiest jobs” and now “Paying it forward” helped to get the word out with a video and plea for people to donate to Thacker’s cause.

“My goodness,” Thacker said. “There are 140,000 views already.”

Alton said he was trying to get as many toys finished as possible, as he feels himself slowing down.

“Well, I had a stroke,” he said. “I don’t walk as fast or as well as I’d like to.”

He’s had to concede he’s not quite able to do as much as in the past.

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“It just leaves a little empty spot in my heart, but we don’t want to close down,” Thacker said.

He’s found a family member to help run things for now. Alton planned to keep spending as much time at the toy factory as he can, for as long as he can.

“I love it,” he said. “I’ve found the secret of happiness and it’s that you do something for somebody else and you’re happy. You know what? People around you are happy too that’s what I want to do.”

Thacker said they’ve also recently started some sewing projects, as well – and they’re looking for some donated sewing machines and people to help sew.

If you’d like to help with donations or lumber, go to www.tinytimstoys.org.

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Ashley Kewish

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