Big Bear Hugs: Rotary of Lake Mary Donates "Trauma Teddy Bears" to Seminole County Fire to Distribute to Children
Photo by SEMINOLE COUNTY FIRE DEPT.
Seminole County, Fla. (August 21, 2023) – When Seminole County Fire Department Firefighter Chris O’Neill runs medical or fire calls out of Station 24 in Winter Springs, he has noticed numerous times that children are overwhelmed or frightened. It could be from a seizure or even having to be in the back of a Rescue (ambulance) to be transported to the hospital. Sometimes he even blows up surgical gloves as balloons to give to the children to distract them from a scary situation.
That’s why Firefighter O’Neill requested that the department have “trauma teddy bears” available on Rescues for the crews to give out to children. Through a generous donation by the Rotary Club of Lake Mary, the Seminole County Fire Department was able to purchase more than 200 trauma teddy bears so O’Neill and other crew members in the Department could use.
The six-inch plush bears will be distributed at all of Seminole County Fire department’s 20 stations and be available at the crew’s discretion to be given to children for various incidents.
“On behalf of the Rotary Club of Lake Mary, we were happy to donate to this cause from proceeds from our annual Champions Ride,” said Jaquie Dua, Chair of the Champions Ride for Charities of the Rotary Club of Lake Mary, “Each year, various public safety agencies in the area benefit from monetary donations and the Club is proud to support local first responders.” This year’s Champions Ride is scheduled for October 14, 2023 at Seminole State College, Lake Mary Campus.
“We appreciate the Rotary Club of Lake Mary’s generous donation and for their support of the Seminole County Fire Department,” said Fire Chief Matt Kinley of the Seminole County Fire Department. “We know these teddy bears will bring comfort to children and help alleviate some distress, when possible. I am proud of our department for the empathy and compassion shown to all residents and this is just another way we demonstrate that commitment.”
Firefighter O’Neill was recently recognized with the Rotary Club of Lake Mary’s “First Responder Community Excellence Award” for leading this action for the community.
“As a father of an 8-year-old daughter, I know medical incidents can be scary from both a kid and parent’s perspective,” said Firefighter O’Neill. “I’m happy the trauma teddy bears will be available for our crews to help calm and comfort local children, and I thank the Rotary for their support.”