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The deposits from nearly 100,000 soft-drink containers collected over a year account for nearly half the contribution from a local plant to this year's Buffalo News/Rotary Club Crippled Children's Camp Fund.

The $10,791.35 in deposits, cash and checks is from the hourly, salaried and retired employees of General Motors' Chevrolet-Pontiac Group plant on River Road in the Town of Tonawanda. The contribution helped bring the 45th annual drive to $80,677.72.

The fund will finance 1991 operations in July and August at Cradle Beach Camp where more than 800 boys and girls between 8 and 17 will spend nearly two weeks of supervised, free-wheeling fun. About 400 of the campers have some sort of disability.

The gift by the Chevrolet-Pontiac employees was the largest ever and came in a year of soft auto sales.

Happily for Cradle Beach campers, the hearts of the GM employees were even softer.

Credit for handling the containers and collecting the deposits goes to the hourly workers, in particular, Ted Szymaszek on the day side and Leonard Mazur on the night side.

Arthur J. McKinnon collected for the engineering and office staff at Plant 4. Thomas Boyle of Grand Island organized and arranged for retired salaried employees to contribute.

James May, president of Local 774, United Auto Workers, cooperated in the collections from retired and active personnel of the local. Guy C. Newell coordinated the hourly employee collections. And Debbie Morris and Don Nichols gathered the gifts of salaried employees.

Most of the GM workers have not seen Cradle Beach Camp in action.

The donors were invited by The Buffalo News to visit and see the wheelchair campers in the pool, as other youngsters chase around a field, shooting baskets or hiking.

Best of all, they would thrill to see them at their noon meal, eating nourishing food and singing. And in quieter moments, they offered thanks for the good things that have come their way.

Additional gifts to support Cradle Beach Camp can be mailed to the Buffalo News Camp Fund, Box 100, Buffalo, 14240. Gifts, which are used only for camp operations, will be acknowledged.

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