Cape Coral Teen Makes Teddy Bears For Families Of Fallen Police Officers
Blue Line Bears have delivered 103 bears to 23 states.
Megan O’Grady is on a mission to bring a little joy into the lives of grieving families of fallen police officers. The 15-year-old girl from Cape Coral, Florida runs a nonprofit called Blue Line Bears that makes hand-sewn teddy bears with the uniforms of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
O’Grady knows firsthand the meaningful and powerful role police officers have on their local communities—her dad is a Cape Coral police officer. "He's my hero. That's what he is to me," O'Grady said in an interview with Fox 4.
Founded in January 2017, O’Grady first became inspired to create Blue Line Bears after the tragic murders of five Dallas officers in July of 2016. "After the attacks on the five Dallas police officers, it really hurt me inside seeing what happened and that was the first time I realized his life was actually on the line. It evolved from there,” O'Grady told Southern Living. Now, the organization has made 103 bears and distributed them to 23 states, including Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
The uniform shirts of the fallen police officers are used in the making of each stuffed animal. In addition, each bear has a front embroidery with the last name of the officer and their badge number, with their end-of-watch date on the foot. Before sending the bears off to the families, they are given a St. Michael medal and blessed by a priest.
The tangible impact O'Grady is having on police families isn't lost on the young girl. "For our first delivery, we went and delivered bears to three different families near Orlando," she said. "One family had twin daughters [of a fallen officer] and they watched him pass away in front of them. After we delivered the bear, we still hear back from them a lot. The mom told us one of the girls said for the first tiime, she could now fall asleep in her own bed because she had a piece of her dad to hold onto.”