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Children are often involved in traumatic events — car accidents, medical emergencies, and domestic violence to name a few.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers
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Children are often involved in traumatic events — car accidents, medical emergencies, and domestic violence to name a few.

While adults do their best to protect them from the evils of the world, it is not always possible.

Because the Sedona Fire District and Sedona Police Department are often the people who come in contact with traumatized children, the Marine Corps Reserve of Sedona decided to help them help out.

Santa reserve donated 214 teddy bears to the agencies to be handed out in these situations.

“It just gives us a teddy bear to give to that child to kind of take the sting out of what’s going on,” SFD Fire Chief Matt Shobert said.

Santa presented Shobert and Officer Matt Tanner teddy bears Friday, Nov. 17, to supplement programs they already have in place.

Charlie Crick of the Marine Corps said they contacted Shobert and SPD Chief Joe Vernier when a fund-raiser left them with a surplus of bears.

“We just said, ‘Hey, we’ll provide several,’” Crick said.

The extra teddy bears came from the reserve’s Share Bear program used to raise money to buy items for the Toys for Tots drive.

When someone purchases a Share Bear they are actually buying two teddy bears. One of them is for the purchaser to keep and the other goes back to the reserve.

Marilyn Chilicas, who helped facilitate the program, said many people donated both bears back to the reserve.

“It was a fund-raiser and it benefits the community so it was a win-win situation,” Chilicas said.

Share Bears were sold the weekend of Nov. 11 at Safeway, Bashas’, New Frontiers and Weber’s IGA in the Village of Oak Creek.

During that weekend the number of bears collected increased from 161 to 214.

Chilicas said that shows the extensive involvement of the Sedona community.

“It’s snowballing,” Chilicas said.

SFD will stash a few bears in each emergency vehicle so when crews respond to a call involving a child they will have them on hand.

Vernier said SPD will probably use their bears on follow-up assignments.

SPD will also be sharing its teddy bears with other Verde Valley agencies who come in contact with children under unfortunate circumstances.

“It’s just a way to kind of show that you care about the child,” Vernier said.

Bears will be given to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety and family service agencies to be given out.

“I think it’s very helpful,” Vernier said, “in establishing a rapport and relationship between an officer and a child.

“It’s a great first step to making a positive move in a bad situation.”


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