A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

VFW donates $8,000 to Kentucky State Police Trooper Teddy Project, bears help calm children’s fears

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The Veterans of Foreign Wars  (VFW) recently presented the Kentucky State Police (KSP) with an $8,000 donation to support the law enforcement agency’s Trooper Teddy Project.

Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander-in-Chief Brian Duffy (left) and Richard Quire, VFW Dept. of Kentucky Surgeon (right) presented Kentucky State Police Deputy Commissioner Alex Payne (center) with an $8,000 check on June 9 in support of the Trooper Teddy Project (provided photo).

The project provides stuffed animals to help calm children’s fears during traumatic experiences such as car crashes, child or sexual abuse cases or serious illnesses. It also helps develop trust between children and law enforcement officers.

Kentucky State Police Deputy Commissioner Alex Payne said some of the worst things the department sees in law enforcement involve children.

“There’s nothing like seeing the smile on a child’s face when you show up for something bad and somehow you make it just a little bit better by handing them a teddy bear. It’s amazing,” said Payne. “It makes the best out of a bad situation for them, but more importantly, it establishes a bond of trust right then and there between that child and this uniform. From that point forward, they know that if they are ever in need of a friend or ally, they can find someone that looks like me and they’ll find a friend or ally.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander-in-Chief Brian Duffy said the project fits perfectly with the VFW’s goal of being a strategic asset to the community and supporting mental health awareness.

“It touches the lives of some very young children during some very traumatic times and gives them a little bit of extra assurance that things are going to be all right,” Duffy said. “The VFW has a long standing support for law enforcement and we’re very proud of the efforts put forth by the various VFW posts and auxiliaries to support this program,” he added.

Seven local VFW organizations teamed up to raise the donation. They include Posts 4075 and 9235 and their auxiliaries in Frankfort; Post 10281 and its auxiliary in Vine Grove; Post 6935 in Harrodsburg; Posts 1181 and 8639 in Louisville and Post 1179 in Shelbyville.

KSP has been distributing the bears since December of 1989 when Kentucky First Lady Martha Wilkinson hosted a gala fundraiser that raised the needed funds to purchase 2,000 Trooper Teddy bears.

The program ran out of funding in early 2000 until recently when KSP was able to utilize asset forfeiture funds from criminal drug activity to purchase more bears. The bears and funding are in short supply again.

The agency plans to sustain the program in the future by offering the bears for sale to the public for $20 each. Until then, information about a donation to the program can be obtained by calling the KSP Public Affairs Branch at 502-782-1780 or visiting http://kentuckystatepolice.org/news.html.

Kentucky State Police

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