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Barrier-breaking bears

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February 28th, 2009
Fire and EMS Personnel P.J. Cwyner (pictured) and Don Bobbitt show off teddy bears that the Matthews Kiwanis Club recently donated to the Matthews fire, EMS, and police departments. Our emergency response workers use the bears as a way to break the ice and comfort young children who have been through a difficult time. It s also a way to help start conversations and build trust in our community, says Matthews Communications Director Annette Privette Keller. The bears are distributed to children who have been involved in accidents, fires, or other emergency situations and as a way for young children to get past the traumatic experience and open up. We want children to know our emergency personnel are people that can be talked to and trusted. Last year Matthews, a suburb of Charlotte, turned that goodwill into a safer community. The town, where Windsor Run, an Erickson community, is currently being built, boasts some of the best public service statistics in the region. According to Keller, the community s emergency response time averages less than five minutes, and the town also experienced a 3% drop in crime over the past year. (Mark Abromaitis)

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