This new year, one Florida teen is pushing forward with her mission to ensure that the families and particularly children of fallen law enforcement officers have a little something to cuddle to help them remember their loved ones.
Megan O'Grady, 16, of Cape Coral, Florida, runs the nonprofit organization Blue Line Bears, which makes and delivers personalized teddy bears.
This week, she and her parents traveled to Denver to deliver bears that she'd made for the family of Adams County Sheriff's Deputy Heath Gumm, 32, who was killed while on duty in January 2018.
Using the uniform shirt of the fallen officer, which she gets from relatives or the police department, O'Grady sews and stuffs bears that wear miniature versions of the uniforms including the officer's name, badge number and even department.
It takes O'Grady, a high school junior, up to two days to complete each bear.
O'Grady began making the teddy bears two years ago. The daughter of a police officer, she said she felt moved to do something for law enforcement families in mourning after hearing about an attack in Dallas, in which five police officers were killed.
She has made 454 bears, so far, and Blue Line Bears has delivered bears to 36 states.
"It has been an amazing year for not only me personally but for the development of Blue Line Bears," she said in a Facebook post Monday. "I've been able to help so many families this year and just really push Blue Line Bears to be the best that it can be. I really look forward to this upcoming year and just further developing Blue Line Bears."
"Part of the reason that I started this was because there's such a negativity towards police. ... It has really lifted my spirits knowing that there are so many people out there who really care about police."