Spencer Moose Lodge donates toys to police, fireman

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 6, 2011

By Mark Wineka
SPENCER — Tommy Moose is a buddy to hold on to. Spencer Moose Lodge has donated a dozen Tommy Moose stuffed animals — six to the Police Department and six to the Fire Department — to comfort children who firefighters and officers meet in crisis situations.
And it happens more than you think. Children who watch as flames engulf their homes. Children caught up in domestic situations. Children terrified after being in a vehicle accident.
Spencer Fire Chief Gray Grubb and Police Chief Mike James say it will help their departments considerably to be able to provide children with a cuddly friend when the youngsters face traumatic circumstances.
“It’s just amazing how much of a calming effect it has,” says Carroll Owen, administrator for Spencer Moose Lodge, which will replenish the fire and police departments’ Tommy Mooses as they are needed.
Across the country, Moose International has been supplying fire, police and ambulance agencies with Tommy Moose animals since 2003, with the help of local Moose lodges.
The Moose organization has roughly 1.1 million men and women who are members.
“Our Tommy Moose program is one of our most popular,” Owen says. “It’s a really great program.”
The Spencer Moose Lodge, with 733 members, is the only one in Rowan County.
When Owen heard the lodge could provide Tommy Moose animals to the Spencer fire and police departments, he jumped at the chance.
The Spencer lodge has numerous charitable activities and has made, for example, contributions toward equipment for the Police Department in the past.
“We wish we could do it for everybody,” Owen says of providing Tommy Mooses for all emergency responders in Rowan County, “but these little things are expensive.”
Owen says it might really make a difference for police officers or firefighters in certain situations if they can approach a child, offer the stuffed toy and say something like, “This is Tommy. He is scared, too. Will you hold Tommy so he’s not scared?”
The Moose fraternity concentrates its charitable efforts on children and senior citizens, Owen says.
The Mooseheart Child City & School, located outside of Chicago, provides homes, education and training for youth whose families are unable to do so, for a variety of reasons.
Owen says the guiding principle for Mooseheart, founded in 1913 and supported by lodges throughout the world, is that “any child without a home deserves one.”
Mooseheart operates on a 1,000-acre site, which also affords the children an education in grades K-12. Over its history, it has provided homes for about 12,000 youngsters, ranging from infancy through high school.
Moosehaven in Orange Park, Fla., provides retirement living for senior Moose members in a quiet setting along the St. Johns River. It aims at taking away the burdens of home maintenance, while providing comprehensive health care facilities and lots of activities.
This “City of Contentment” for older Moose members was founded in 1922.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.