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Troopers and bears brighten Christmas Eve

SELMA – One-year-old Caybren Croweln was not having a good day. It was Christmas Eve and he was in the pediatrics ward of Vaughan Regional Medical Center. Caybren was crying when some special visitors stopped by. When the men in uniform handed him the teddy bear, his day looked a little brighter. Caybren stopped crying and held his new bear close to him.

For more than thirty years the troopers have been giving out teddy bears to help deliver some much needed holiday cheer all over the state.

Alabama State Trooper Association Representative for the Selma District Rick Ward, Alabama State Troopers John Reese and Chris Fails joined together to give seven children in the Vaughan Regional Hospital a special Christmas gift.

“The program started by giving children involved in accidents teddy bears,” Reese said. “The kids were traumatized by the accident, but when they saw the bears, then their faces lit up like a Christmas tree.”

Troopers still use the teddy bears – clad in a t-shirt with the trooper’s emblem and a trooper hat – in their day-to-day work as well.

When a child becomes upset when their parent is pulled over or facing a criminal charge, then the troopers give the child a teddy bear to help calm them.

“A lot of times kids grow up afraid of officers because parents use them to scare the kids,” Vaughan RN Leigh Raney said. “So the troopers bringing the teddy bears around lets the kids know that they are their friends and there to help them. Plus, it really cheers up the kids.”

The troopers delivering the Christmas cheer Thursday said that this is the other part of their job – to help – not to just enforce the law.

“It’s important to let kids and parents know that we are there to help,” Ward said. “This is one way to do that.”

As the troopers left pediatrics, the mood was a little happier and everyone was much more into the Christmas spirit.