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It is an exciting time for children when visitors come to their schools.

Many times during the school year, students will see authors, government officials, older students and other community members come through the doors of their school.

But how often does Ronald McDonald stop by to chat?

He was in Craig earlier this week to visit elementary schools. Judging by the crowds' expression were he went, he was well-received.

But what if a student missed the opportunity to witness Ronald's visit?

Seven-year-old Rachel Shelton, a student at East Elementary, was in the hospital, having pins taken out of her broken arm. The surgical procedure occurred Monday, the same day of McDonald's visit to East.

Realizing what his granddaughter was missing, Jerry Shelton made a call to McDonald's. Restaurant managers talked to Ronald and, without hesitation, he headed to The Memorial Hospital in Craig to visit Rachel.

"We relayed the message to Ronald and he was happy to do it," Craig McDonald's manager Veronica Carey said.

"It is wonderful that Ronald was able to visit her in the hospital," Tina Krekeler, McDonald's Ronald McDonald Program coordinator, said. "Ronald is the one who deserves all the credit. He is the one that puts a smile on their faces and warmth in their hearts."

According to Krekeler, the main purpose of Ronald's visits to the schools is to educate. His program, "Ronald McDonald and the Amazing Thinking Machine," teaches students how to "think for yourself" and use resources, like books, people and dictionaries, to solve problems and answer questions. The program is free for schools as McDonald's restaurants sponsor Ronald's visits.

"This is a great way to give back to their communities," Krekeler said.

"I really feel this is something the community should know about," Shelton said. He went on to say how excited Rachel was when Ronald arrived, despite being somewhat groggy after the surgery.

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