Medical technologist collects stuffed animals for local toy program

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 17, 2002

A Medical technologist has been collecting stuffed animals for the Toys for Tots Program for three consecutive years.

Robert R. Smith, who has been employed at Obici Hospital for 13 years, suffered a heart attack 2-1/2 years ago. Smith said he recovered with the Lord’s help and many prayers.

&uot;I felt that I needed to do a service in His name so I picked His children for my service,&uot; he said. &uot;Many children will go without toys for Christmas without a loving hand; but Lord willing, I will do this again next year.&uot;

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The first year he collected 250 stuffed animals, the second year 350 and this year 1,080.

The animals are all new and obtained from the stuffed animal machines in K-Marts, Wal-Mart and Garden Ridge.

Smith, a resident of Chesapeake, appreciates children and also loves the environment in which he is working.

&uot;I have worked in 30-plus hospitals up and down the East Coast and Obici is great,&uot; he said.

He entered the Navy in August 1962 and also became a retired Navy Hospital Man Chief in 1982 after 20 years of service.

During this time he was designated as a hospital corpsman, spent two years in Roosevelt Road, Puerto Rico; spent time on several Naval vessels and also spent time in Africa and Ethiopia doing medical research.

He and his wife Adele have three children and four grandchildren.

This past Halloween he gave out over 100 stuffed animals instead of candy.

&uot;I did this because I thought it was something different and I’m glad that I did because the children just loved it,&uot; said Smith.