Making Life Bearable

--By: Ryn Gargulinski

What’s cute and cuddly and rides in a cop car?

Although some may be tempted to name their favorite officer, the answer that’s sought is a teddy bear — specifically, the more than 100 bears hand-crafted and sewn by Tucumcari’s Quay-Z Quilters and donated to city and state police during a recent ceremony at the convention center.

Quay-Z Quilters Margie Truelock, Bonnie Weaver, Marilyn Ford and Mela Chavez “surrendered” some 20 bags of bears and fleece blankets to Tucumcari’s police Lt. Charles Newman and Sgt. Cleo Baker of the New Mexico State Police.

The bears are not only intended to snag a smile from the guys and gals in blue, but to comfort children they happen across in their work.

Sewn together by an idea sprung in Amarillo by Quay-Z Quilter President Dee Gadbury, Tucumcari picked up the idea and just sort of threaded it this way, so to speak.

“In Amarillo the patrol officers were so pleased about this that we thought this community has been so good to us as a quilting club and this was a way to show our appreciation,” said bear project Chairperson Marilyn Ford.

Ford said this was an ongoing project – with 104 bears to date donated along with the one-time gift of fleece blankets. Newman recalled how donated toys helped him in the line of duty about three years ago.

“I gave a toy to a child involved in an accident. It helped. He hung onto that bear all the way to the hospital,” Newman said.

Baker agreed toys like the teddy bears are a useful tool in the line of duty.

“It’s nice,” Baker said. “A lot of times you see a little kid … they may be all shook up … it helps them look at us in a different way.

“So many families teach the kids that we’re the bad guys,” he said. “This shows them that we’re not.”