There was no dinner, nor a large crowd to give an acceptance speech to Wednesday morning. But the award still meant quite a bit to the recipient.

"I didn't see this coming, they got me," said Bill Ryan, the Harvey County Salvation Army volunteer of the year. "This feels good. It's not so much getting the plaque, but what we did to earn it. Hopefully this gets more recognition out there for the Toy Run. Hopefully it will be just as big this year."

Ryan, who owns Those Blasted Signs in downtown Newton, reorganized the annual Toy Run.

In October the Salvation Army announced the annual event which was entering its 28th year was not going to happen. The former sponsors had chosen to not do it again.

That didn't sit well with Ryan and other members of the community who took a few weeks to organize an event that drew hundreds of participants to Newton in November.

Toy Run participants donated more than 730 toys and $9,000 to the Salvation Army Christmas Program.

"I need to thank the committee that put this together," Ryan said Wednesday. "Melanie Babbit, Don Typer, my wife Janette, and the American Legion. They had a big part of setting this up."