Troopers bring cheer to sick children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Spending the holidays in a hospital can be trying experience for even the average adult, but it is especially hard for young children.

While the majority of Selma children spend their Christmas morning around the tree opening gifts, those in the pediatric ward of Vaughan Regional Medical Center will find themselves in a stark-white room with medical equipment providing the only blinking lights.

In an effort to bring some to cheer to an otherwise bleak situation, three Alabama State Troopers paid a visit to the ward with a sack full of comforting gifts.

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Corporal Rick Ward, along with troopers Terry King and John Reese, went from room to room handing out soft teddy bears dressed in a state trooper hat and shirt.

Judging from the reactions of the children, it seemed their gesture may have worked.

Every time the troopers entered a room they were greeted with bright eyes and a big smile.

The 12 children who currently make up the ward &045; whose ages range from just a few months old to teen-agers &045; seemed very surprised and grateful for the gift.

Nurse Tracy Dunkin said patients in the Vaughan pediatric ward were there for a wide number of reasons, from asthma attacks to fire and car accidents.

Ward said the gifts were a way to let the children know that troopers are there to help, even in the worst situations.

Dunkin said the whole pediatric ward looks forward to seeing the troopers stop by with their teddy bears every year.

The teddy bears given away by the troopers are the same ones kept in their vehicles in case they happen upon a accident involving children.

With 17 deaths due to traffic accidents being predicted by the Alabama State Trooper Association this holiday season, the troopers say they want everyone to be careful while on the roadways and avoid causing even more children to spend their Christmas on a hospital bed.