The Paralegal Committee annual holiday luncheon (hosted this year on December 6), is aimed at thanking Indianapolis emergency service organizations, specifically the Bears on Patrol program. With the help of generous donors to the program, Indy's first responders provide stuffed animals to children during times of trauma as a token of hope and comfort in scary situations.
We connected with some of Indy's first responders to get some feedback on the Bears on Patrol program. We asked what it means to them and why events like the Paralegal Committee's teddy bear drive are so crucial to maintaining the program. Take a look below for some touching memories.
"I always have a large container in the trunk of my Sheriff vehicle that has stuffed animals provided by the Marion County Sheriff's Office and other toys I have purchased with my own money. I always try to hand out toys to children when we are on the scene of an incident or even just taking a break and a child comes by to say hi.
I do remember one incident very well, due to me being a father of two girls. While driving down the street while on duty I noticed a small girl no older than four or five years old standing on the side of the street with no adults in sight. She looked lost and was completely covered in sweat from the summer heat. She wasn’t a talkative girl, but a neighbor came outside and said the girl lived next door and that mom always leaves the kids alone. The home contained roaches, filth, rotten food and zero to no toys. Child Protective Services was called to take over the scene. While there, I handed the little girl a bottle of water and a stuffed animal. For the two hours I was there she held onto that toy like she had never seen a stuffed animal before. I only wish I could have done more but I do think giving her that toy helped a little."---Corporal Eric Stojkovich, Marion County Sheriff's Office
"I was dispatched to a run of "shots fired." I and another deputy entered a housing addition where the call came from. As I was driving through the addition, I came upon a female lying in the street with a gunshot to her head and an unoccupied vehicle still running with its lights on and the door wide open. Other units arrived and we heard another single gunshot and tried to find the source of it. We got to a house and there were two children inside, probably around five or seven years old. They were at the window above the garage. One of the kids told me his dad was shot in the kitchen. We removed the two kids from the house and I placed them in my vehicle and gave them each a stuffed teddy bear that I had in my trunk, for some comfort. I can only hope it helped a little in such a tragic situation."---Corporal David Sears, Marion County Sheriff's Office
Tragedy is all around us, but it's the goal of the Bears on Patrol program to make tragedy not all scary for these children suffering from trauma. You can donate to the IndyBar Paralegal Committee's teddy bear drive by attending the Paralegal Holiday Luncheon on December 6---you'll also get to meet and shake hands with the first responders who distribute the stuffed animals! Can't make it to the luncheon? You can still donate! Stuffed animals may be dropped off at the IndyBar office until Wednesday, December 6.
If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Paralegal Committee, please email Kara Sikorski at email@example.com.