Vulcan donates bears to help kids

On hand to accept the donation of stuffed toys from Vulcan Materials are, from left, Sgt. Chuck Garner, deputy Wayne Irwin, Sheriff James Berrong, Rose Rummel with Vulcan, Julie McGuire with Vulcan, Jarrod Millsaps, community outreach director for BCSO, and deputy Paige Craig.

Photo by Sherri Gardner Howell

On hand to accept the donation of stuffed toys from Vulcan Materials are, from left, Sgt. Chuck Garner, deputy Wayne Irwin, Sheriff James Berrong, Rose Rummel with Vulcan, Julie McGuire with Vulcan, Jarrod Millsaps, community outreach director for BCSO, and deputy Paige Craig.

Things were getting a little “stuffy” around the Vulcan locations. From Dixie Lee Junction in Knox County to the Maryville quarry, the employees could be seen playing with lions and tigers and bears -- lots of bears.

They were all stuffed and all gifts for the children in the counties where Vulcan has centers of operation. Vulcan employees wanted to do something for their communities, so they collected stuffed animals to donate to area law enforcement and hospitals to use when children are frightened, hurting or alone.

More than 350 stuffed animals were collected, with five Vulcan facilities participating. The response was so positive that organizers were able to give teddy bears and stuffed animals to three organizations instead of one. Some went to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, some to the Maryville Police Department and some to the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.

The law enforcement use them if their duties call them to an accident or incident where a child is present. Giving them a stuffed animal helps to comfort the child and form a bond with the officer, said Sheriff Berrong.

“We have even had cases where the first officer at the scene had given his stuffed animal away and didn’t have one and would call for a cruiser that had a stuffed animal on board to come assist him,” said Jarrod Millsaps with BCSO. “It is a good service for us, and we are so appreciative of the donation of bears and other stuffed animals.”

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