A trick for these treats: They’re off to Iraq

A local orthodontist is accepting candy donations from Columbia children.
Tuesday, November 2, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:46 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 12, 2008

Two former hippies and a retired little devil dutifully unloaded 10 pounds of Halloween candy on the scale at Dr. Scott Robinson’s orthodontics office. Kelsey and Grady Harrington had braved the rain on Sunday evening sporting Afros, sunglasses and tie-dyed shirts while their younger brother Lucas donned a devil costume to collect hordes of Kit Kats, Reese’s Pieces and Laffy Taffy. The trio — Kelsey, 10, Grady, 11, and Lucas, 8 — decided on Monday to share their bounty with children halfway around the world in Iraq.

“I did it because of where it was going and because I got some money,” Grady Harrington said.

A plastic tub overflowing with fun-size Snickers, Tootsie Rolls and Skittles isn’t a common sight in an orthodontist’s office, even one that has toys in the waiting room and Dr. Seuss sculptures mounted on the walls.

Robinson offered to pay patients $1 per pound of sweet stuff they donated on Monday. Robinson said he read an article about soldiers bonding with Iraqi children by giving them candy and thought it was a great idea. Rebecca Fitzpatrick, a certified orthodontic assistant in the office, contacted the local armory to set up the delivery to seven different units in Iraq.

“We have some patients whose dads are serving in Iraq and this seemed like a good way for us to show our appreciation for the troops,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick’s brother-in-law, Master Sgt. John Dietle, who volunteered for a second tour of duty in Iraq, will receive some candy to share with Iraqi children. Fitzpatrick said she e-mailed Dietle, whom she described as a “big teddy bear,” to let him know the candy will soon be on the way.

“If he could save a man from leaving his family that’s what he wanted to do,” Fitzpatrick said.

The office had collected 100 pounds of candy by Monday, but Robinson said he hopes to bring in more before they send it out on Friday. His office will continue to accept candy donations until Friday but will no longer pay for them.

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