A Loudoun County Eagle Scout collected almost 2,000 new stuffed animals for first-responders as part of his community service project.
Broad Run High School senior Andrew Stephenson, a member of Ashburn Troop 2970, originally set out in March to collect 200 of the stuffed animals as part of his Teddy Bear Brigade project, but ultimately collected 1,856. They were presented to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and Loudoun County Fire and Rescue during a ceremony earlier this month.
The donated stuffed animals—including bears, dogs, monkeys and frogs—will be used by deputies and fire-rescue personnel to comfort children who are involved in emotional or traumatic situations.
In addition to collecting teddy bears at many locations around the county, Andrew coordinated an online fundraiser through the gofundme website.
“A teddy bear in the hands of a deputy can be used to provide comfort and a distraction for a child involved in a traumatic event,” Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said in a statement announcing the donations. Fire Chief W. Keith Brower, Jr., said his personnel will also use the teddy bears to help children involved in frightening situations. “The results of Andrew’s project will help us direct a child’s attention to the teddy bear during those scary moments, as first-responders are arriving on scene,” Brower stated.
Because of allergy concerns, none of the used stuffed animals Andrew collected could be used for the county programs, so he donated them to overseas organizations.