Mollie's bears of joy
Some call her the Teddy bear lady. You can find her in thrift stores, at yard sales and Goodwill looking for furry little teddy bears that just need to be spruced up a bit, dressed and then put in the arms of a cild.
Retired in 2001, Mollie Barr has spent her spare time reaching out to children by way of the Teddy bears she revives. Originally her daughter was working on a mission project with prisoners.
"She was helping out children of prisoners with schools supplies and such," said Barr. "But she didn't have any searching toys to give them. So, I started searching for Teddy bears, it's evolved from this."
Soon she was donating Teddy bears to medical missionaries in Honduras as well. Widowed for six years, Barr got a call from her high school sweetheart Earl and the romance was ignited. To get away from sad memories, they decided to move to Lebanon. They attend West Haven Baptist church and a fellow congregant, Michael Randolph, is an officer wit the Mt. Juliet Police Department.
"I had fulfilled my obligation to the other outreaches this time around, but I still wanted to reach out to children," she said. "I didn't realize that officers carried stuffed animals in the cars for children in traumatic situations."
Recently she delivered over 30 Teddy bears to the MJPD.
Officers often are in the presence of children who may be in domestic situations and auto accidents and other incidences, according to MJPD Community Policing Director Tyler Chandler.
"When it comes down to children, often the littlest things have the biggest impact," he said. "Comforting a child in a time of crisis is a critical function of police officers."
Barr said she wants a traumatized child "just to have something to hold on to and feel loved."
MJPD Deputy Chief James Hambrick said he was so pleased with the generous donations.
"In situations requiring police intervention, they are often traumatic and negative," said Hambrick. "Any little bit helps and Mollie's bears will go far in the young child's eyes. Our department is so thankful to have Mollie Barr in our community who wants to make a difference in a child's life."
Managing Editor Laurie Everett can be reached at 754-6397 or by email at email@example.com