ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Small stuffed animals are making a big difference for kids in Albany. 'Tommy Moose' animals were given out to emergency responders and law enforcement officials Friday.
A lot of times, emergency responders arrive at horrific events from fires, accidents, and other tragedies. And when kids are involved, it's even more difficult to help them cope. But with Tommy Moose, it may make it a bit easier.
"First responders don't always get to the best situations. It could have been a shooting, a car wreck, a fire, or whatever," said Dougherty Co. Sheriff Kevin Sproul.
And Sheriff Kevin Sproul has experienced, first-hand, the impact these stuffed animals have on a child dealing with a tragedy. "My wife and children were in an accident years ago. And my five-year-old daughter was beside herself. The county police responded and they had a little stuffed animal that they gave my five-year-old daughter. It calmed her down. It had such a calming and soothing effect," Sproul said.
Today, members of the Albany Moose Family Center presented nearly 200 of these Tommy Moose plush dolls to Dougherty county Sheriff's Office, Dougherty County Police, EMS and Fire Emergency Services, and Albany Police.
"We enforce laws," said Deputy Demetrious Kendrick. "We go to their homes on a daily basis and we interact with their parents and it's not always on good terms."
Deputy Kendrick says these toys leave a lasting impression. "It's always nice to have something to leave to a child that says, 'Hey, we're doing our job, but at the same time, we still care."
These toys will also be used to comfort emergency victims with special needs, and the elderly. Deputy Kendrick says he's looking forward to the day he can pass Tommy out.
"Seeing the kid smile and letting me know I did my job and was able to brighten their day up would mean the world to me."
The Moose organization has presented over 120,000 Tommy Moose plush dolls to help children in crisis.