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Miss America flips pancakes for children's health at Chamblee IHOP

It's not often that Dick Schweitzer gets his pancakes cooked by Miss America.

Actually, it's safe to say that it had never happened  before Thursday when the reigning Miss America, Betty Cantrell, stopped at the IHOP restaurant, at 5516 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., to flip a few short stacks to help raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

"These are very special," said a beaming Schweitzer, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Sandy Springs as he downed three pancakes. "I'm lucky. Life has been good"

Cantrell, dressed in  print pants, a navy top,  high-heeled sandals and a crown, was the center of attention at the restaurant as diners stopped, forks or spoons in mid-air, when she walked in the door.

"Is that her?" one man asked.

Rhythm Willliams and Khiara White snagged a photo with the beauty queen in the parking lot.

"We said, 'Oh, my God, that's Miss America," said Williams. "She smiled and took a picture with us. She was very nice."


Cantrell  to help Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

Miss America makes her way back to Georgia

Janet Newman of Chamblee brought her five-year-old son, John, to see Cantrell.

He got a flashing IHOP pin and a photo with Miss America. "After Super Tuesday, I thought this would be something positive," his mother said.

Cantrell, a native of Georgia, donned an black IHOP apron, said the program is an important part of helping children get the medical care they need.

She posed for pictures and met Mallory Hall, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta's miracle child, who gave her a gift bag filled with items like ink pens and a T-shirt, most of which the young girl decided to keep.

When Cantrell tried to fix Mallory's crown, which was upside down, a fiesty Mallory pulled back.

"Oh, she's Miss America," Cantrell said, laughing.

After the IHOP stop,  Cantrell was scheduled to  visit patients for a pancake party at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which is the local beneficiary of IHOP’s National Pancake Day fundraising efforts.

Last year, more than $3.5 million was raised during National Pancake Day, which is March 8.

Craig Hoffman, a spokesman for the restaurant chain, said 59 metro locations are participating in the fundraiser.

Over the last decade, more than $20 million has been raised to benefit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

It must be something about that IHOP, though.

Franchisee Joe Scripture said Cantrell is the second Miss America to visit the restaurant. Three years ago, Miss America Mallory Hagan also stopped by to help raise money as well.

"I just wish they would come by on a Saturday when we need the help," he said jokingly.



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About the Author

Shelia Poole has worked at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for more than two decades.