When a police officer is lost in the line of duty, it is a devastating loss to a family and the community.
These men and women in blue have given their lives to protect and serve.
Megan O’Grady, 16, wanted to help these officers’ families to ease the pain of their loss, according to CBS4.
O’Grady’s father is a police officer, and her biggest fear is losing him to his profession. With this thought guiding her, she set out to create a feeling of comfort to the families that have lost a beloved police officer.
O’Grady has created the Blue Line Bears – a huggable and lovable way to remember a police officer lost in the line of duty.
The Florida teen started her quest after five Dallas police officers were killed during a shooting in 2016.
“I decided to make something that children love and it’s ageless . . . teddy bears,’ she said.
“People still love them when they’re like 80 something, so I wanted to do [what] people of all ages could love and hold.”
When O’Grady hears of an officer killed in the line of duty, she sets out to collect a uniform shirt from their police department to make a one-of-a-kind stuffed bear, which she hand sews herself.
During the creation of each bear, O’Grady makes a personalized badge with the officer’s last name and badge number. Then she sews it on to the bear’s stomach, making it even more loveable to squeeze and hold on tight to.
The reason for the stuffed bears is simple: O’Grady wants to bring some comfort to the families that have lost a loved one on the police force.
“I want them to be able to kind of hold a piece of their loved one again because the shirts are obviously the most personal part of the job other than the badge itself,” she said.
O’Grady has her own nonprofit and relies on donation and other assistance to make the bears for the police officers’ families. She never askes for money from a fallen officer’s family as her stuffed bear is a gift from the heart.
Recently, O’Grady delivered her largest order yet – 15 bears to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado. Here, she honored the life of Deputy Heath Gumm, who was killed last year in the line of duty.
She had sewn a stuffed bear for each division of the sheriff’s offices and three more bears for each member of the officer’s family.
She took to Facebook to post the moment she gave the bears out.
“Today I was blessed with the opportunity to deliver bears to the family of Deputy Gumm from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office,” O’Grady wrote.
“I’m so glad I was able to meet the family and Sheriff in person. Everyone was so welcoming and kind. I hope they love their bears!”
To date, O’Grady has sewn 450 bears and traveled to 34 states to give them to families that needed a little extra comfort.
“The thin blue line community is stronger than any community out there,” she said.
“We are all so closely related and we’re all here for each other, and I just want them to know that there are so many people out there for them who watch out for them no matter what happens and that we all genuinely love them.”
O’Grady’s bears are a true gift from the heart that can definitely help a family find a little more comfort in their loss.
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