KALKASKA, Mi. – The wife of a Michigan police officer is using retired police uniforms to help children who are dealing with traumatic situations.
“It just kinda popped in my head, ‘well why don’t we make teddy bears for children that need a little extra something special.'”
Eva Grey has been snipping and stitching to make these bears. “I actually use almost all of the uniform.”
She uses the retired pants for the teddy bear bodies, the retired shirts for the teddy bear coats, the buttons for the eyes, all the way down to the little details.
“I actually have been able to incorporate the signature lines form the police officer informs into the bears,”she said.
The uniforms date back to the early 1990’s, and Lt. Glenn Artress remembers when the retired uniforms in the basement used to be his every-day get-up. “I started in 1991, and I’m sure there’s a pair of pants and a shirt down there that I wore then.”
Each bear takes Eva about 2 and a half hours to make. But the more she makes, the quicker she gets. “The last four that I did I made production line style, where I’d do all the heads first, then parts of the bodies, so I didn’t have to keep changing threads.”
The best part of all this? Officers will give these bears to children involved in critical incidents, like a car crash, or experiencing family trouble.
“In times of critical incidents, children become very upset and sometimes they can get the view that the police might be against them. We really wanna make sure that they know the police are there to help,” said Lt. Artress.
This all started when Lt. Artress asked his officers to get creative with what they could do with the retired uniforms. Officer Gray took the idea home to his wife Eva, and she came up with the bears.