Couple donates Teddy bears to Walker County Sheriff’s Office
by Elane Jones
Jul 19, 2013 | 2288 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thursday afternoon, Hershal Brewer of Victorville, Calif., second from left, and his fiance, Laura MacLemale of Rochester, N.Y., second from right, presented the Walker County Sheriff’s Office with Teddy bears from Build-A-Bear Workshop to give to children in stressful situations, such as car accidents or domestic violence incidents. Daily Mountain Eagle - Elane Jones
Thursday afternoon, Hershal Brewer of Victorville, Calif., second from left, and his fiance, Laura MacLemale of Rochester, N.Y., second from right, presented the Walker County Sheriff’s Office with Teddy bears from Build-A-Bear Workshop to give to children in stressful situations, such as car accidents or domestic violence incidents. Daily Mountain Eagle - Elane Jones
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Hershal C. Brewer of Victorville, Calif., and his fiance, Laura MacLemale of Rochester, N.Y., kicked off their weekend trip to Walker County with a trip to the Walker County Sheriff’s Office Thursday. But not for the reason or reasons you might think.

Just as the shifts were changing Thursday afternoon, the couple stopped in at the Sheriff’s Office to present the sheriff’s patrol deputies with some Teddy bears to give to children in stressful situations.

“We’ve sent Teddy bears all over the United States, from New York to California to Boston, Mass., and even personally delivered some to the Las Vegas Police Department while out there on vacation last year around Christmas and New Years,” Brewer said. “We decided we would do the same thing while we were down here visiting with family.”

The couple caught three of the sheriff’s patrol deputies still in the roll call room Thursday and presented them with the six Teddy bears the couple had made at a Build-A-Bear Workshop. Each of the bears, three brown ones to give to boys and three white ones to give to girls, came with their own Build-A-Bear condominium and a letter stating the bears are to ride in the sheriff’s deputies patrol cars until they need to be given to a child in distress.

“We do this to help children who are in stressful situations, such as domestic violence or car accidents, in hopes of bringing them a little comfort in some way,” MacLemale said.

“We actually started doing this after he (Brewer) sent me a Teddy bear for my birthday and a stuffed reindeer for Christmas.”

Brewer said he sent MacLemale a bear from Vermont Bears for her birthday and was trying to figure out a way to top that gift at Christmas when he decided to buy her a special reindeer sold only at Build-A-Bear Workshops.

“I went to my local Build-A-Workshop to buy the reindeer. While I was there I remembered seeing something online about a charity known as the Teddy Bears Cops Program,” Brewer said. “I decide to purchase six bears to donate to the sheriff’s office in the county were she lived, which is Monroe County, in her name as part of the gift. And that’s how we got started doing this.”

Brewer and MacLemale said they average sending about six bears a month to a police department or sheriff’s office somewhere in the United States.

The couple has also received letters of thanks for their donations from the various police departments and sheriff’s offices, as well as a letter from one police department which told how one of their bears helped comfort a 5-year-old while his mother, who was a victim of a violent domestic assault, filled out paperwork and was later transported to the hospital.

“We’re not rich or anything like that and we don’t do this for the ‘at-a-boys’ or pats on the back. We do it because we care. We have been blessed in our lives and we wanted to give back, and this is how we decide do it,” MacLemale said. “Each time we purchase a bear we think about the child who might be on the receiving end one day, like that little five-year-old, and that’s all that matters.”

Both MacLemale and Brewer said if they can comfort just one child, then that makes it worth everything, more than any words of thank you or pats on the back could ever receive.

In fact, the project means so much to the couple that for their upcoming nuptials they have decided, instead of having their friends purchase wedding gifts from a wedding registry, they’re going to ask them to purchase bears to donate to a police department or sheriff’s office of their choice.

“We both have plenty of stuff — way too much stuff in fact — so we won’t be needing toasters or anything like that,” MacLemale said. “The more folks we can get involved in donating to Teddy Bear Cops, the better.”

The mission of the Teddy Bear Cops program is to get Teddy bears into the hands of police, fire and emergency officials across the country, so that they can give Teddy bears to a child, or children, at the scene of incidents.

For more information about the Teddy Bear Cops Program, visit www.teddybearcop.com.