“What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want them? Now.”
When protests over law enforcement broke out throughout the nation last year, this message was broadcast for the world to see. As the daughter of a Cape Coral Police Officer, these words resonated with 15-year-old Cape Coral resident Megan O’Grady.
“After Dallas, it really hit me hard,” said Megan. “I realized that my dad isn’t safe anymore.”
It was around this time when Megan was assigned a paper in school through which she was asked to identify a social issue and discuss its impact. In writing this paper, she realized a passion for advocating for the safety of police officers and their families.
“It’s hard for kids like me…especially when I see kids whose parents are killed because of their occupation,” said Megan.
Seeing the July 2016 police shootings in Dallas, Megan became concerned for the children who survived the victims. She reflected on what it would be like to be in their position. This reflection led to her desire to do something to comfort the survivors.
Megan wanted to give something tangible back to the children of fallen police officers to memorialize them. She came up with the idea to sew keepsake teddy bears that they could hold on to. From this idea, she formed Blue Line Bears. A non-profit organization, the goal of Blue Line Bears is to help children of fallen Law Enforcement cope with the loss.
“I make the teddy bears from uniforms from fallen police officers,” said Megan. “Each bear is given a St. Michael medal and is blessed by a priest before it is mailed to the families.”
In addition to this, the officer’s last name and badge number are sewn on the bear’s stomach, as well as a thin blue line with the end of life date. The officer’s department patch is placed on the back of the bears.
According to her dad, the first bears were the most difficult for Megan to sew. While she enjoys bringing comfort to the children of fallen officers, it takes an emotional toll on her.
“It definitely gets overwhelming,” said Megan. “It’s hard, emotionally.”
Gaining nation-wide attention, at any given time Megan has around thirty shirts to be sewn into bears. Since the inception of her project, she has sewn over 200 into bears. She has traveled to several states delivering them, most recently New York City over Thanksgiving where she was greeted by officers of the New York Police Department (NYPD.)
Blue Line Bears is a nonprofit organization with the goal of helping the children of fallen Law Enforcement officers cope with the devastating loss of a parent. In 2016 alone, more than 130 law enforcement officers across the country were killed in the line of duty, many of them leaving behind children and/or grandchildren. Children of law enforcement officers grow up realizing that their parent’s life is at risk every day they go to work. Add to that the fact that there is much public ridicule of law enforcement officers, and deaths in the line of duty are sudden, shocking and violent.
Blue Line Bears will provide a lasting keepsake to help keep the officer’s memory alive. Blue Line Bears will also help the child to see that there are caring individuals who respect and appreciate men and women in uniform. Children of officers killed in the line of duty are oftentimes young, perhaps too young to remember the parent who died. For those children, a bear from Blue Line Bears will provide a tangible reminder that their loved one will always be with them.
All of this is done at no expense to the family. Through the use of donations and other contributions, Blue Line Bears purchases all materials, as well as covers the cost of shipping.
If you would like to help support Blue Line Bears and their mission to help the children of fallen law enforcement officers, please visit their website at www.bluelinebears.org or their Facebook page www.facebook.com/bluelinebears.
Help Megan as she helps others!