|'Trunk Tigers' to ease anxiety|
|The Press - Features|
|Written by Kelley Lannigan|
|Wednesday, 08 June 2011 13:19|
There’s a rumor going around that Baker County Sheriff’s Office deputies will be cruising the roads with tigers in the trunks of their patrol cars.
It’s part of the “Tiger in the Trunk” campaign initiated last year by Kaycee Heinz of Glen St. Mary.
Tigers in car trunks?
Sheriff Joey Dobson addressed the campaign at the sheriff’s complex May 24 during a meeting with Mike Davis, director of the Baker County Extension Office, and some special 4-H students.
Mr. Davis and Sheriff Dobson commended the project and the efforts of the youth who presented 29 of the stuffed animals to the Sheriff’s Office in matching black, white and red decorative bags that also bore a tiger stripe design.
“This is a great project and you’re all to be congratulated,” said Sheriff Dobson. “If the deputies come across a child in distress, one of these tigers can provide a measure of hope and comfort.”
The black and white stuffed animals will perform a very real and vital function, and members from the local 4-H archery and horse clubs raised funds to purchase 29 of them, one for each patrol car.
Ms. Heinz came up with the project and pledged that her company would match whatever money could be raised by the youths.
The project’s mission is to provide a comforting toy to children in crisis.When law enforcement personnel are summoned to the scene of an altercation and children are involved or present, the fuzzy stuffed tigers can hopefully take away some of the sting.
“It would be my hope that the sheriff’s deputies would never, ever have to use these, but they are here if needed,” said Mr. Davis. “It shows how much our 4-H youth care for other youth in their community.”
The kids raised money through solicitations of family and friends. Some donations arrived anonymously.
“We are proud of you for doing this,” said Sheriff Dobson. “You aren’t there when we give them out, but if you could see the faces of children — it means a lot. Because of you, 29 kids are going to feel a lot better.”
Nine-year-old Marydith Stidham, who belongs to the horse club, knows firsthand the comfort of a stuffed animal. She sleeps with her favorite stuffed black lab dog toy every night.
“I called family in Ohio, Texas and Louisiana and I went to where my mom works and asked the ladies,” said Marydith. “It was fun raising the money and I would do it again. I thought it was a good idea because it helps children in a bad situation.”
Damian Scalf of Glen St.Mary is a member of the 4-H Archery Club and believes the tigers can help fill a void.
“Kids that have lost so much — to get something soft to hug will remind them of good times,” he said.
|Last Updated on Friday, 10 June 2011 07:41|