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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Happy hands warm hearts with quilts for frightened kids

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The ladies of the Happy Hands Quilters donated more than 20 quilts to the officers of the Shelbyville Police Department for the comfort of young children they encounter during their calls. From left, Liz McInerney, Shirley Brown, Mary Sue Young, Naomi Schar, Det. Carol Jean, Arlene Kersten, Linda Scott and Pat Hyland.
(T-G Photo by Tracy Simmons) [Order this photo]
It's one of the worst things about the job of a law enforcement officer -- being called to the scene and seeing that young children are present. Whether it's a car wreck, a death in the family, or parents who are struggling with domestic violence or addictions, children are the unwilling participants in the drama that follows.

According to Det. Carol Jean, when a methamphetamine lab is discovered, nothing may be removed from the home, and children must leave with only the clothes on their back.

When the Department of Children's Services intervenes, sometimes the children wait for hours at the police department until a guardian or foster parent can take them to a safe home.

A small comfort, perhaps, but sometimes a stuffed animal or a warm blanket can make a difference, giving the children something to hold on to when their home life has been unsettled.

Over the years several local churches, women's groups and knitting or sewing circles have collected such items, donating them to the officers of the Shelbyville Police Department. "It's a real comfort to the children," said Jean.

This week, the members of the Happy Hands Quilters group donated more than 20 quilts to SPD. Just big enough for a child to wrap up in, or to lay on the floor, the quilts feature bright colors and -- of course -- immaculate construction.

The ladies of Happy Hands meet once a month, spending the day sharing their latest work, newest patterns, and crafting a different quilt block during each session.

When Jean returned to SPD with the blankets Tuesday, she wondered if some of the officers would want to put some in their cars, and put the quilts in the squad room with a note. When she returned later in the day, "There was one left, and that's only half the officers that work here!," said Jean.

"I spoke to some of the officers yesterday afternoon. They were excited and appreciative to have them, just in case..."

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