KENT, Wash. – A woman who spent a decade making teddy bears by hand to cheer up children involved in traumatic emergencies has lost her battle with breast cancer.
Barbara Joslin was known as the Kent Fire Department’s “Teddy Bear Friend.” She would hand make teddy bears for firefighters to give children something soft and comforting to hang on to during emergencies. Each vehicle in the Kent fire department fleet was issued at least one.
The department said the “Barbara Bears” were handed out at car crashes, fires, domestic violence calls and other incidents.
Each bear has moving arms and legs and would play music when one of the paws was paused. They each took about 30 hours to make and cost $35 – a cost that the Joslins paid for out of their own pockets even as Barbara was fighting cancer.
Joslin passed away on Dec. 12.
“Barbara was someone that made a difference in every person’s life who saw, touched, or received one of the special bears she made,” said Kent Fire Chief Jim Schneider, adding that her efforts were “…an amazing gesture of kindness and sincere concern for others that will be a legacy which will last for many years to come.”
About 450 bears were created over ten years.