By Jeff Keeling
With his 14th birthday coming up, something told Liberty Bell Middle School 8th grader Ian Rodifer that when it came to material possessions, he was doing more than alright. So the longtime supporter and enthusiast of our nation’s military told his mom, Laura, he wanted to do something a little different for his party.
“He said he didn’t really need anything and would like his friends to find and bring donations for Toys for Tots for his birthday party,” Ian’s mother, Laura Rodifer, said last week.
So that’s how a large collection of toys came to be at the local Just Jump location on Dec. 6, compliments of Ian and his friends. Laura Rodifer had gone online to learn the best way for Ian to get his wish. She’d emailed Sgt. James Dale of the India Company, from the 25th Marines’ 3rd Battalion, which is stationed at the local armory in Gray.
While Ms. Rodifer told her son everything was set up for the toys to reach their proper destination, she didn’t mention that several members of India Company would be coming by the party to collect the donations and visit with the boys. That was her little surprise to a son whose decision surrounding his birthday had made her quite proud.
It made Sgt. Dale and his Marines grateful, Dale said Friday.
“When somebody wants to do that, we want to show our appreciation, so we put on our dress blue uniform and went out and celebrated his birthday with him,” Dale said from a busy armory, where folks were preparing for Monday’s Toys for Tots distribution. Dale said the local community has a knack for stepping up and providing enough for the Marines’ endeavors.
“The community wants to help, and every year the families that are able to, take care of the families in need – they do an outstanding job,” Dale said.