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Couple Starts Stuffed Animal Fundraiser for Greene County Sheriff's Office

Posted: Nov 03, 2018 09:10 PM Updated:
A couple started the fundraiser to help out veterans and the sheriff's office A couple started the fundraiser to help out veterans and the sheriff's office
Greene County Sheriff Steve Smith Greene County Sheriff Steve Smith
Herbie the hedgehog Herbie the hedgehog
Each deputy carries around a Herbie to give to kids in stressful situations Each deputy carries around a Herbie to give to kids in stressful situations
GREENE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Deputies from the Greene County Sheriff's Office have a new tool to carry with them on the job. But it's not what you may think - it's actually quite cuddly.

A couple living in Greene County started a fundraiser selling stuffed animals, with all of the proceeds going toward the American Legion and all of the furry friends going in squad cars at the sheriff's office.

As Greene County deputies gear up for another day of work, they've got a new tool.

“Oh I think it's a great idea, they're real soft and plush and real - I mean they're just real to calm someone's nerves,” Steven Smith, the Greene County sheriff, said.

But it's not something they keep on their belt. Instead, it's something they can give away.

“In a traumatic situation, you'd like to be able to comfort a child any way you can,” Smith said.

Each stuffed animal is known as Herbie the hedgehog. The goal is to make sure every deputy has a Herbie just in case he or she is dealing with a child in a stressful situation.

“I mean, it's something that's really scary for them and then with the police being there, law enforcement, you just want to try soothe it down and calm them down - let them know that we're there to help, not to hurt,” Smith said.

It all started with a couple living in the county that wanted to do more to support veterans and give back to their community.

“It's awesome because my goal is to have the whole Ruckersville and the surrounding Greene County saturated with Herbies, and we've done a really good job so far,” Kimberly Berglund, who started the fundraiser, said.

And now her car is overflowing with Herbies.

“No matter where you take it, everybody's like, ‘aw, it's so cute,’ and then it just leads right into the conversation about, you know, what they're for and the cause and everything and nine times out of 10 people want to buy one,” Berglund said.

The sheriff's office says it has a number of items to give out to kids, but Herbie is more about comforting them.

“Giving the other stuff out, it's just to build a relationship - that's where it starts,” Smith said. “When they're young, hopefully they can keep a positive relationship with law enforcement and it'll last until they become an adult.”

If you're interested in purchasing a Herbie and donating it to the Greene County Sheriff's Office, call Kimberly Berglund at 603-986-4981 or email her at kimberlydberglund@gmail.com. Each is sold at $20.