When we’re toddlers, we often have our teddy bears there for comfort whenever we’re scared, sad or just need something soft and familiar to hold and love. Some even keep those bears for the rest of their lives as a sentimental reminder. However, for a small toddler in St. Louis, his new teddy bears hold a lot more sentiment than your standard stuffed animal.
On October 6, Officer Blake Snyder, a four-year veteran on the force was killed in the line of duty while responding to a call in south St. Louis county. He was shot point blank in a normally peaceful park by a disturbed teen.
His son, 2-year-old Malachi, didn’t understand why his father was not coming home. “He’s been asking for his daddy a lot,” widow Elizabeth Snyder told Fox2Now. “Which is hard, because I don’t know how to respond to him yet, because every time I look at him, I’m reminded that my husband’s not coming home.”
To help the distraught toddler, a friend presented the family with two new teddy bears made of a very special fabric: his father’s police uniform.
Snyder’s wife, Elizabeth, posted the above photo to Facebook with the caption, “These beautiful bears were made for us from Blake’s uniforms ❤️”.
One bares a St. Louis Police Department patch, while the other has Officer Snyder’s police identification number stitched on the breast.
The post went viral, and has garnered an outpouring of both local and national support for Snyders and families of fallen officers.
One of the results was a dine-out event, with more than 200 regional restaurants participating, purposed to help our friends in Blue. It raised more than $175,000 which was donated to Backstoppers, an organization that provides monetary assistance to spouses and family members of officers killed in the line of duty and those severely injured.
Another fundraiser by Mehlville School District in St. Louis ended with nearly $13,000 donated in Snyder’s name.
Though his father is not with him, Malachi will always have his two bears to take with him wherever he goes, and watching over him when he’s scared, lonely or just needing a great hug.
“I am deeply proud of my husband,” she said. “He is a hero. A true hero, and his son will grow up knowing that.”
Share this sweet story and feel free to donate to Backstoppers to help family members who have lost heroes.
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