KSU police ‘robbed’ of change

Morgan Day

Kids raise money for children’s hospital by collecting money from campus cops

Sean Kirby, 6, and Dylon Carr, 6, dressed as bandits, collect money from Assistant Police Chief Dean P. Tondiglia yesterday at the KSU Police Department to benefit Akron Children’s Hospital. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

Five “change bandits” raising money for Akron Children’s Hospital held up the Kent State Police Department yesterday. They took mercy on no one — including the UPS man.

Steve Molden, UPS worker and father of four, was caught in the fundraising fun and couldn’t resist giving a few dollars to the kids, who were dressed in cowboy hats, sheriff badges and bandanas.

VIDEO Click image to view. VIDEO COURTESY OF TV2

“(Akron Children’s Hospital) is a great place,” he said. “We spend a lot of time there, actually.”

Part-time dispatcher Cassie Kirby and her sons Sean, 6; Owen, 4; and Patrick, 2, participated in the Change Bandit program, which is part of the WKDD’s eighth annual “Have a Heart, Do Your Part” Radiothon. Officer Tricia Snyder also brought her daughter Tiffany, 3, and nephew Dylon, 6, to collect money as part of the program.

Kirby said people usually have no problem giving money because most have been to Akron Children’s Hospital or know someone who has. She said her kids decorated small bags to send to family members along with their Christmas cards so family members could help collect for the cause, too.

Those wishing to donate to Akron Children’s Hospital can do so at the Kent State Police Department or the Michael Schwartz Center until Feb. 7.

Tune in to 98.1 WKDD to hear Matt Patrick and Angela live from Akron Children’s Hospital Atrium Lobby.

• Feb. 9 — 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

• Feb. 10 — 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

• Feb. 11 — 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

As Dan FitzPatrick, deputy chief of the Kent State Police Department, knelt to give a coin to one of the children, he asked, “Is that enough?”

The response: “Nope. Five of those!”

Detective Carl Sweigert, surrounded by children armed with large change bags, said the fundraising wasn’t robbery — it was organized crime.

Laura Jo Hawk, director of annual programs at Akron Children’s Hospital, said the hospital doesn’t set a specific goal to reach. However, last year, with the help of more than 1,000 Change Bandits, a record-breaking $245,000 was raised toward Radiothon’s overall total of about $845,100.

“We just try to do as best we can,” she said.

Hawk said it’s easy to see why people are so responsive to the fundraiser — it’s because anyone can participate.

“We have preschool kids and Fortune 500 companies, and they all just get excited about it,” she said.

Contact safety reporter Morgan Day at [email protected].