Bristol Village residents Terry and Sue Wheeler are hoping to give the gift of comfort through hand-made stuffed teddy bears that have been donated to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Waverly and Piketon police departments.
According to the Wheelers, they lived and worked in the Vandalia/Dayton area for their entire careers, with Terry serving as a policeman in Butler Township for a number of those years. They stated that during that time, the county deputies and township policeman carried small stuffed toys in their cruisers to give to children in traumatic situations.
“The small stuffed toys seemed to comfort the stressed children,” they said.
After moving to Bristol Village, Terry asked the sheriff and police chiefs in Waverly and Piketon if they were interested in a similar program in Pike County. After getting the go-ahead from law enforcement, the Wheelers decided to make small stuffed teddy bears and enlisted the help of neighbors Linda Axelrode and Eleanor Fujita to help them. Together, they made 50 bears.
According to Pike County Interim Sheriff James Nelson, local law enforcement has given stuffed to toys to children in difficult situations in the past, and he indicated that it is helpful and helps take the child’s mind off whatever is going on.
Waverly Police Chief Zach Dixon said that even in minor vehicle crashes children can tend to panic because of all the chaos around them.
“I think this is a wonderful idea for us,” he said of having teddy bears to hand out to children in difficult situations.
Nelson said that it also helps children get used to law enforcement officers and know that they are their friends who are trying to help them.
The Wheelers said they plan to continue making bears as needed.