Fire dept. seeking public help in showing ‘love’ to Texas

Douglas County Fire Department officials and the current recruiting class hold up teddy bears that will be sent to Texas as part of the department’s “Bear Hugs for Texas” campaign for the storm-ravaged state.

The Douglas County Fire Department is sending “bear hugs” to Texas in a show of support for the state that was ravaged by winter weather last week.

Texas has been paralyzed by power outages, water shortages and other problems.

Douglas County Fire Chief Roderick Jolivette said the department will kick off the “Bear Hugs For Texas” campaign starting Monday for the next two weeks.

County residents are asked to drop off small teddy bears at one of the 10 fire stations during that time.

The teddy bears will be sent to a Texas fire station to be distributed to children to show Douglas County is thinking about them.

“It is a symbol to show we are thinking about them,” Jolivette said. “We didn’t want to do water just because of the logistics of it. We wanted to relieve some of the stress that those kids are going through right now in Texas. We want to show Texas some love.”

The campaign will end on March 8 with a community-wide Zoom call as a sendoff before the bears are shipped to Texas.

On Friday, President Joe Biden announced he plans to visit Texas next week following the brutal winter storm.

All 10 fire stations will have a container for a contact-less drop-off from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. each day, Jolivette said.

Jolivette said Austin Fire Chief Joel Baker will help distribute the bears once they arrive in Texas.

“This is a good way in getting the community involved and showing we care,” Jolivette said. “We are also teaching our recruits about community service.”