Facebook Twitter



Because Sandy Christiansen is a crack shot at arcade games, kids in the Salt Lake metro area are comforted with a stuffed animal in times of crisis.

Christiansen and co-worker John D. Roberts, both employees at the Murray office of U.S. Gypsum Co., donated more than 100 stuffed animals Monday to the Utah Highway Patrol. The gift marked at least the third time Christiansen and Roberts have given bears."The numbers of bears increase all the time," said UHP Lt. Dan Fallows, section commander of the Salt Lake County Metro area.

"The value of those bears when you see a child at an accident scene . . . they grab on to that stuffed animal and latch on to it," Fallows said. "The whole purpose is to take the hurt away from a child."

Christiansen wins the bears playing a cranelike arcade game found in many supermarket foyers. She has become a pro, Roberts said.

"She's the one with the most talent," he said.

"We decided we were not going to call (the UHP) until we had 100 saved up," Christiansen said.

Fallows said he was glad to get their call. His sergeants issue several bears to each trooper, with the officers often keeping them seatbelted in the back seat of the patrol car.

"This is not something we can go out and buy with taxpayers money," Fallows said. "I don't think they realize how much good they're doing."

One case, particularly, came to mind as an example of the stuffed animals' worth.

Troopers responding to a recent rollover found the vehicle upside-down in the median, with one of the children trapped in a carseat. To quiet the child, they slid in a stuffed animal.

"It was amazing how it worked," trooper Mike Cowdell said.

"They just light up - they love to relate the experiences," Fallows said of his troopers. "It doesn't take away the hurt, but it does take a little of the sting away."