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Bear project benefits community

Most of us will never experience the tragedy and heartache that law enforcement officers see on a regular basis.

They respond to worst-case scenarios and often see people at the lowest points in their lives. Many times, children are involved.

Thanks to a local woman and the Rotary Club, officers have a simple way to provide comfort to those children.

Patti Perkins and the club donated “comfort bears” to law enforcement departments recently. The idea is simple:  officers give children in crisis a stuffed bear as a way to comfort them.

“The very first bear, officer Bobby Bell was called to the scene of a 17-year-old rape victim,” Perkins said. “She had been traumatized, and a male policeman and two male ambulance attendants came to help her. She was not going to get into the ambulance with all these men around.”

Perkins said a bear given to the victim helped comfort her enough that she could get in the ambulance to be taken to the hospital.

The bears have even made it all the way to Afghanistan, where American troops passed out the stuffed animals to children traumatized by war.

Money to purchase the bears comes from local service organizations. For years, the Lions Club helped Perkins with the project, but this year she has joined the Rotary Club, which has taken on the project as its own.

Something as small and seemingly insignificant as a stuffed animal can make a tragedy or crisis just a little more bearable for a child. We are grateful for Perkins and those who have helped purchase the bears.

The effort is a worthy one that will continue to benefit this community for years to come.