When it came time for Logan Goodwin to choose his Eagle Scout service project, he decided to expand on something he’s been doing for years.
Goodwin, of Troop 170, recently collected nearly 1,500 stuffed animals for children in crisis situations with his project, Animal Hugs, after meeting with Anson County Emergency Management Director Rodney Diggs and learning that ambulances had a need for the toys to comfort children so paramedics could administer medical care.
“I decided to branch out and help all the children in the county instead of just one department,” he said, donating stuffed animals to area police, fire and rescue departments, as well as the Anson County Sheriff’s Office.
Goodwin’s donations began at the age of 4, after receiving a small bear — handmade at the senior center — by a deputy while visiting the sheriff’s office with his grandmother, Diane Goodwin. When he found out similar stuffed animals were used to comfort children in bad situations, he decided donate some of his own to kids who needed them more.
Since then, he’s been donating about 100 per year to the sheriff’s office or police department, in addition to other Scout projects.
Goodwin said that in many of the patrol cars, you can see officers riding around town with the animals strapped in the seat belt waiting for their next home with a child in need of an Animal Hug.
He started Animal Hugs in September.
“I saved up $600 for my project to purchase new stuffed animals, posted on Facebook and put flyers around town that we would take new or gently used stuffed animals to repurpose for the project,” he said.
But it took hard work and help from so many people, other than himself to make it possible, Goodwin added.
“My family helps me a lot and keeps me focused on what is important,” Goodwin said. “My mom is a nurse and my dad is a fireman so we are a family that helps others.”
Between churches, businesses, friends and family, Animal Hugs received more than 1,000 new and used stuffed animals from three states.
“We worked every Monday night at Scouts for weeks to inspect, clean, mend and tag the stuffed animals,” he said.
Twenty-seven volunteers, including firemen and rescue personnel, helped Goodwin count and bag 1,450 stuffed animals for delivery — surpassing his goal by more than 1,000. Each plush pet has a card attached denoting it was donated by Goodwin as his Eagle Scout service project.
Goodwin said that many people were amazed at how many stuffed animals they were able to collect, adding that Wadesboro Police Chief Thedis Spencer and retired Sheriff Tommy Allen both spoke about how much it has helped in the past with children in a crisis situation.
“Some stuffed animals are the only thing a child has when they lose their home in a fire or accident,” Goodwin said. “Even children that are removed from a home due to domestic violence — it gives them something of their own to let them know they are loved and not alone.
“You never know, they could hold on to that animal for years, and because of it, (they could want to) do something nice for someone else, or even decide to join Scouts,” he continued. “Even if it only makes a difference in one child’s life and helps to put them on the right path, it will be worth it.”
Reach Natalie Davis at 704-994-5471.