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Students donate toys to emergency services
E-BMES Donation pic
Cynthia Fradys first grade class at Blacks Mill Elementary donated around 150 stuffed animals to Dawson County Emergency Services. As the class that donated the most, the students received a popcorn party. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

Students at Black's Mill Elementary recently gave a donation to Dawson County Emergency Services.

Children and teachers at the school spent the past month collecting stuffed animals to give to emergency services workers to keep in the ambulances and fire trucks.

"Any time we have donations like this, when it comes to stuffed animals, what we try to do is keep some on the ambulance," said Dawson County Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford. "Any time you're treating a pediatric patient, they may not have a comfort item with them."

The students began collecting the stuffed animals at the start of November and ended the collection after the Thanksgiving break, said Karrie King, a representative of the Black's Mill PTO.

"I think the kids really enjoyed bringing it in," she said. "I know my little one got up some bags [of stuffed animals] for this."

Swafford said that the smaller stuffed animals donated would go on the ambulances while the larger animals would be used for pacifying children during their car seat program.

"It works out well to be able to present them something to serve as a distraction to the sickness or injury, he said. "The same holds true when we do safety seat programs."

But, overall, it's the gesture itself of being able to comfort a scared child that is at the heart of the initiative.

"Even as simple as offering a kid something after a fire, it isn't much, but a lot of times it'll take their mind off the tragedy at hand," Swafford said.