A former Army transportation officer who did a tour of duty during the Vietnam War, Dr. Tom Morse knows what it's like to be far from home. That's one reason he's doing something sweet for the U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan.
The local pediatric dentist and his staff at Children's Dentistry are collecting candy and other gifts for the military until Nov. 10. They're calling the program "Treats for our Troops." With offices on Hilton Head Island and in Beaufort, Morse hopes the goodies will bring smiles to the faces of many men and women serving overseas. And what better time to collect treats than right after Halloween, when children all over Beaufort County have way more candy than they can handle?
"There's just such an excess of candy out there that the kids don't really need," Morse said. "It goes to waste, and it's not good for them anyway."
Morse, who treats infants, children and teens, said about 40 percent of the patients at his Beaufort office have parents in the military.
One of those patients is 2-year-old Beaufort resident Trinity Sullivan, whose Marine father is currently stationed in Japan. Trinity's mother, Whitney Sullivan, thinks Morse's program is a great idea.
"They love it," Sullivan said about service members receiving gifts while stationed overseas. "They look forward to stuff like that."
And of course, a dentist can't hand out sugar-filled treats without providing a way to clean up the dental damage they might cause. Morse will include a supply of toothbrushes in the package to the troops -- another sign that he and the rest of the community care.
"When they see that it's from a whole community, it means ... more because it's not just a family involved; it's the whole community supporting them," Morse said.