When Charles County Sheriff's Officer Jason Hopkins responded to a report of a three-vehicle crash in La Plata last year, he didn't know the immense effect one act of kindness would have for one of the victims.
The crash happened April 14 at 8:53 a.m. at the intersection of Crain Highway and Centennial Street and Becky Sanford and her mom, Andrea, were in one of the cars involved. Both Becky and her mom were injured in the crash. Their injuries were not life threatening but like any 10-year-old would be, Becky was very scared. That's where Officer Hopkins stepped in to help. He retrieved a small Beanie Baby from his cruiser, a white one with four-leaf clovers on it that a loved one had given him for good luck.
Becky took the bear with her to the hospital and after she was treated for her injuries, she took the bear with her everywhere she went. Then, she had an idea: Becky wanted to help other children who were involved in crashes or other scary situations so she decided to collect 500 Beanie Babies to donate to the Sheriff's Office. For several months she collected Beanie Babies from friends, family and others who donated. On Dec. 13, she presented Sheriff Frederick E. Davis and Officer Hopkins with 1,088 Beanie Babies after far surpassing her original goal.
"What Becky has done for her community is going to help a lot of children that our officers encounter. She has a great, big heart and a lot of determination," said Sheriff Davis. "I am also grateful to Officer Hopkins for helping Becky through a scary experience. That kind of compassion is important for officers because children are sometimes in the middle of a bad situation and it's up to us to comfort them."
The officers will use the Beanie Babies to comfort children on a variety of calls, from crashes to child abuse investigations and domestic fight calls.
Photo: Becky Sanford, center, hold the Beanie Baby Officer Hopkins, left, gave to her when she was involved in an automobile crash. She donated more than a thousand Beanie Babies - and a large Garfield - to Sheriff Frederick E. Davis so other officers can use them to help other kids in scary situations. Becky is keeping her Lucky bear.