Law enforcement often comes into contact with children who have just been through a horrific experience. Whether it is a car crash or a domestic incident at their home, children need comfort during those times.
That's why a Trussville boy with autism is doing all he can to help. His father said he knows how it is to receive help and wants his son to learn how to be on the other end of good deeds.
George Odell is a student at Hewitt-Trussville High School. His father, Jessie Odell, said he wanted him to do more than just go to school.
"He's going to be living with us forever, and that's fine, but I needed him to do something to give him a sense of worth in the community so he can feel like he's doing a positive contribution," said Jessie Odell.
So, a month ago, the pair started collecting teddy bears to give to the Trussville Police Department. The officers will keep the bears in their vehicles for safe keeping until they are needed.
Jessie Odell said the idea of teddy bears came from an experience George had as a child.
"George was adopted and was given his own bear when he was taken away from his birth parents," said Jessie Odell. "Giving back is how we help others, and I want him to learn that. When he was in foster care, he went through some 30 group and foster homes before we ever got to the point of adoption and found him. Everything he had at that time was because somebody gave it."
Pet Supplies Plus in Trussville is getting in on the action. The store is hosting a teddy bear drive on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 11:30 a.m.
"I think it's great for other kids in his age range to see what other kids are doing to help somebody that's in need," said Pet Supplies Plus owner Chase Foster. "It's about helping someone who doesn't have what you have."
Foster said he hopes the idea of giving back catches on.
"I want him to be a role model for other kids," said Foster. "There are so many things you can do and so many causes."
Jessie Odell also hopes the effort will be long-term and eventually spread to other organizations and agencies in surrounding areas.
"It's also teaching them to respect our law enforcement," said Odell. "I want them to learn to see the police officers as people they can trust and people they can run to when they need help."
George said it makes him feel good to collect bears for police officers because he likes helping people.
Odell said the effort has already gotten a positive response from the community.
You can learn more about George's Bears for Blue by clicking here.
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