Written by Justin Culetu
Officer Brain Hardy, founder of the Teddy Bear Drive and long time Coronado police officer, presented to his Chief the idea of filling up a police car with teddy bears and handing them out to the Children’s Hospital thirty years ago.
“Chief, I have this crazy idea. Let’s put teddy bears in a police car and bring them up to Children’s Hospital. I think the kids would really get a kick out of it.”
Since then, police departments around the county have taken part in collecting teddy bears and delivering them to Rady Children’s Hospital every holiday season.
The idea came to Officer Hardy when he noticed a fairly empty toy collection bin while visiting the children’s hospital. When he was told about the lack of donations, he purchased twelve teddy bears to give to the kids himself, and eventually got multiple county precincts to do the same.
According to Hardy, the emotion that is brought out from fellow police officers once they hand out the teddy bears to children with terminal illnesses is a humbling moment for all of them. Hardy understands the joy that such a simple act brings to the kids, as his own daughter was unfortunately in the hospital when she was two years old, and the teddy bear caravan came rolling in the morning after the doctors saved his daughter’s life.
Although Hardy has retired from the police force, he continues his involvement in the Teddy Bear Drive. With the pandemic hindering the donation of teddy bears, police departments are prompting people to donate money instead, which will go towards buying teddy bears that will be delivered to the kids.
“If you could see what we see, these children just light up when you bring them these bears,” he said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you from all these thousands and thousands of kids at Children’s Hospital.”
The donation link can be found here.