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Local do-gooder recognized for spreading the spirit of giving

Date: 06/12/2008

A lesson in selflessness:
Local orthodontist Dr. Kirk Specht presented Do A Good Deed Contest winner Dacota Ownbey, a fifth-grader at Ralph Dunlap Elementary School, with a special certificate and HP personal computer. This is the second computer awarded by Dr. Specht to a Ralph Dunlap student this year for doing a good deed in the local community.
Ralph Dunlap fifth-grader Dacota Ownbey knew that she and her family weren't going to be celebrating an extravagant Christmas in 2008. Hard economic times meant that everyone in the family was only going to get one gift. And Ownbey was looking forward to getting a new pair of shoes, rather than receiving the latest video game or a new cell phone.

But when she heard that a family didn't have enough money to purchase a Christmas tree, let alone Christmas presents, Ownbey knew she had to do something.

"I felt really bad for those people," she said. "I thought that their feelings must be hurt because they didn't get a lot of presents."

So Ownbey went to her parents, sister, and grandparents and asked if they would help her make that family's Christmas special.

Together the Ownbey family collected gifts--including girls' dresses, wallets, roller skates, and even Ownbey's new pair of shoes--put them in a bag with new wrapping paper and holiday bows, and left the bag outside of the family's house on Christmas morning.

Ownbey wrote about her good deed in an essay for the Do A Good Deed Contest, run by local orthodontist Dr. Kirk Specht, that encourages young people to help out in their communities.

Ownbey's essay caught Specht's eye because he said, "It really came from the heart."

"[Dacota and her family] gave from their little bit to a family with nothing to help them have a better Christmas," he said.

Specht and his staff, along with Ownbey's family, were at Ralph Dunlap Elementary School on June 9 to surprise her with the grand prize of an HP personal computer.

Ownbey was brought up during lunchtime before an audience of her fifth-grade peers by Principal Joe Dana to receive the award, which, according to Dana, could not have gone to a better student.

"She's a great kid. She's quiet and she doesn't attract much attention to herself, but she's a really good friend to the other kids. She's a very sweet girl," Dana said after the award ceremony.

The essay contest is held by Specht once a year as part of the national Do A Good Deed Contest, applying the theme: "Doctors heal people, but people heal the world."

The goal of the contest is to help young people become active in their communities, as well as instill innovativeness, self-motivation, self-esteem, and a desire to help others.

For more information about Specht and his Do A Good Deed Contest, visit

Staff Writer Amy Asman compiled this week's Community Corner. Send items for consideration to Send comments to

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