Crime Stoppers and Cuddles For Kids join forces

Standing together for the announcement Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, of a new program uniting Cambria County Crime Stoppers and Cuddles for Kids are (left to right) Bob Heffelfinger, Richland Township supervisor; Gary Martin, Crime Stoppers president; Conner Hagins, Cuddles founder; Kirk Moss, Adams Township police chief; Lanny Kissell, Croyle Township officer; Aaron Leyo, Portage Borough officer; Paul Bonfanti, Summerhill Township police chief; and Mike Burgan, Richland Township police chief. The announcement was made at the Richland Township Police Department.

Many area law-enforcement officers will now have partners while they are on patrol.

Through a new program between Cambria County Crime Stoppers and Cud-dles for Kids, police will have stuffed teddy bears in their cruisers to give to children to comfort and calm them in traumatic circumstances.

Departments from Adams, Croyle, Richland and Summerhill townships and Portage Borough are participating in the initiative.

“These folks come in contact with children in very stressful situations,” said Gary Martin, Crime Stoppers president. “It’s comforting for the children to know that there’s a bear and they can relate to that.”

We understand how emotional a child can become after a traffic accident or fire. Reaching out to that youngster with a cute, fuzzy animal may help ease the anxiety.

“Something like this can help calm a child down,” said Richland Township police Chief Mike Burgan.

“It’s something they can hold.

“When you give a child a doll or stuffed animal, their face just lights up. It stops the crying, the emotion.”

Conner Hagins, founder of Cuddles for Kids, was proud and pleased that his organization was involved.

“It’s a little different from what we normally do with Cuddles for Kids,” he said.

“But we’re always looking for ways to branch out and reach more kids.”

We applaud the efforts of all involved. It’s a thoughtful gesture.

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