Cape Coral Student Megan O’Grady Starts Nonprofit to Honor Fallen Police Officers
Megan O’Grady, a 16-year-old student at Bishop Verot High School, says she believes in law enforcement. As the daughter of a police officer, Megan is keenly aware that many officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. To comfort the loved ones left behind, Megan started the nonprofit organization Blue Line Bears, in which the uniform of the fallen police officer is sewn into a keepsake teddy bear complete with the officer’s name, badge number and department patch.
What inspired you to start Blue Line Bears for fallen officers?
When the attack on Dallas happened in the summer of 2016, that was the first time I ever realized that society has started to attack police officers and make them the bad guys. That was when I realized that every time I tell my dad goodbye he may not come home.
This was when I was going into high school, and every summer the school has to read one book. That year it was a book titled “This I Believe.” It was a book consisting of essays written by celebrities and everyday people about things they believe in. The summer assignment was to write our own version of the essay. I wrote about how I believe in law enforcement.
Later that year, I was accepted into a club called Scholars Academy. It’s a purely academic club that requires everyone to finish a capstone project by the end of their senior year. I looked back at the essay—and back at the events in Dallas—and I decided it needed to be something that helped the families of the fallen.
There were so many things out there that helped families financially, but there was never really anything that gives the families something personal to hold and remember the fallen officer. That’s when I decided to make the teddy bears, so anyone at any age could hold the uniform of the fallen officer and it could continue to provide comfort for the family.
How long does it take to make each bear?
It approximately takes two days per bear, but they are made in an assembly line, so two days may not be completely accurate.
How many requests do you get each month?
We get at least 10 requests every month.
Have you met many of the families you’ve sewn bears for? What did that feel like?
I’ve met about 33 families from all over the country. Some of them I personally delivered bears to, and others I met after I mailed the bears to them. It’s amazing meeting the families in person because they are all so amazing, and I get to see the change I’m making—even if it is just providing a small amount of peace after what has happened to them.
What are your plans for the future?
I do intend to keep Blue Line Bears going. I’m not sure about anything else yet, but I have some time to decide.
Where can people donate to help you continue making the bears or find out more about your organization?
People can go on any social media to find us.
- Twitter: @BlueLineBears
- Instagram: Blue_line_bears