The international Tommy Moose campaign has been a focus for Moose Lodge members for several years and they just completed donating enough plush dolls to have one placed in each Georgia State Patrol vehicle in the state.
“We’ve already done all the state patrol cars, but our goal is to provide a Tommy Moose for every police car and fire truck in the state,” said Ray Chaffin, president of the Georgia Moose Association and administrator of Mableton Moose Lodge No. 1314. “I’ve already done Cobb County, Douglas County, and a lot of the areas in our area. We’re trying to get all the police departments, sheriff’s departments and fire departments.”
A total of 1,500 Tommy Moose dolls were presented to the Georgia State Patrol in February, according to Mableton Moose Lodge Senior Regent Pam Farr said. Locally, both the Villa Rica Police Department and the Carroll County Fire Department received two dozen Tommy Moose dolls.
“We decided since I live in Villa Rica we’d go out and present some dolls to the Villa Rica Police Department and the Fire Department,” Farr said. “We do a lot of community service projects around communities and I’m real excited about this Tommy Moose thing. I’m hoping we can get into more police departments in the area.”
The Tommy Moose dolls are to be kept in patrol cars or fire trucks and handed out to children involved in traumatic events to help calm them down.
“It’s meant for children who are involved in an accident, or if they are in a home with domestic violence or some other traumatic situation,” Farr said.
The Villa Rica Police Department has been receiving homemade quilts from the Quilts of Love group based at Powell’s Chapel United Methodist Church for years for the same purpose, but Police Chief Michael Mansour said the moose dolls will be a welcome addition. First Baptist Church of Villa Rica has donated stuffed bears and blankets to VRPD in the past as well.
“It makes children trust you a little more, want to talk to you a little more and kind of makes them feel a little more comfortable,” Mansour said.
Carroll County Fire Chief Tracy Smith said that at one time there was an organization that provided the department with stuffed bears to be used for comforting purposes. However, that program no longer exists.
“This program is going to be very helpful for us because we often run up on traumatic situations where children are involved,” he said. “This is just a great tool for us to use with the children.”
Chaffin related one story in which a small child was molested and wouldn’t tell law enforcement officers what had happened. However, she would talk to Tommy Moose and the perpetrator was quickly arrested.
“There’s numerous stories like that,” Chaffin said. “We’ve shown evidence that it helps calm kids down.”
As part of the campaign, about 400 Moose members will be recognized at the Atlanta Braves game on June 17 and Tommy Moose will throw out the first pitch.