4th grader asks for gifts for soldiers for her birthday

4th grader asks for gifts for soldiers for her birthday
Madilyn, Kathryn and David Robinett
Madilyn, Kathryn and David Robinett
Gifts sent to Madilyn Robinett from Captain Jeff Kelly, a soldier deployed in Afghanistan.
Gifts sent to Madilyn Robinett from Captain Jeff Kelly, a soldier deployed in Afghanistan.
Captain Jeff Kelly.
Captain Jeff Kelly.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Most little girls dream of having a big birthday party with cake, friends, and gifts, but a 10-year-girl from Myrtle Beach is celebrating her big day by giving to others.

Madilyn Robinett is a 4th grader at Forestbrook Elementary School. She really couldn't think of anything she wanted for her 10th birthday, so she decided to give to the soldiers that are in war.

Kathryn Robinett, Madilyn's mother said, "Ever since her last birthday party she has been talking about helping our soldiers."

The sometimes, shy little girl decided instead of getting gifts at her 10th birthday party, she wanted her friends and family to donate items to make care packages for the soldiers.

"Last year, I did dogs and the cats and the Humane Society so I was like, 'What should I do next for my birthday?'" said Madilyn.  "I thought of helping the people that are in the war."

Madilyn's mother reached out to a college friend to get help with the birthday girl's wish. The family got connected with Captain Jeff Kelly, a soldier from Missouri, who is currently deployed in Afghanistan.

Madilyn and her mother wrote a letter to Captain Kelly explaining her birthday wish and they were so surprised when he wrote back.

In the letter, Captain Kelly listed all of the items his soldiers in his unit would like to have in their care packages and Madilyn and her family started collecting those items.

"They just told me that they want beef jerky because that's what they could have," said Madilyn. Captain Kelly also told the little girl how thankful he was to know she thought of the soldiers on her birthday.

Madilyn was overwhelmed when she found what came with the letter as well. The birthday girl thought she wouldn't receive a gift, but Captain Kelly sent her a beautiful wooden box filled with special pieces of jewelry and trinkets from different areas of Afghanistan.

Madilyn said,"It was so awesome! I was like he had to get out of the war for a little while and get those things for me."

"I got a scarf, bracelets, and a little wooden owl," Madilyn said, pulling out the pieces from the box. Captain Kelly also printed a map with his letter, to show Madilyn all of the places the gifts came from.

Madilyn's parents have been so amazed by the kindness to help their daughter. "I've been completely amazed at the amount of cash donations we've gotten so far, we haven't even had her birthday celebration yet so we'll be getting a lot more than this," said Kathryn.

Madilyn's school heard about her selfless actions and made a donation to help get items needed for the care packages.

"Now that the school is getting involved and giving a donation as well, it's been quite an amazing journey to show how much affect one 10-year-old little girl can make for the soldiers," Kathryn said.

It's a big gesture from a little girl with a big heart.  "For a 10-year-old that's a blessing," said David Robinett, Madilyn's proud father.

Madilyn's birthday party is Saturday and she says her party theme is Captain America.

The family plans to collect all the donated items and ship them to Captain Kelly next week; he will then distribute them to soldiers in his unit.

According to family, Captain Kelly is scheduled to come home sometime in October.

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