West Columbia, SC (Jimmy Poluszek) - The West Columbia Fire Department received quite the gift on Saturday when guests at a birthday party for two brothers each brought a stuffed animal to donate to the firefighters. The purpose of the event, aside from celebrating the birthdays of Parker and Bryce McClellan, was to provide plushies for the firefighters so that they give them to a child that’s been involved in some type of emergency situation and needs something comforting. Emergency responders find that providing the child a plush toy like the stuffed animals helps calm them if something traumatic has happened.
The event was held at Green Hill Baptist Church and the fire department even brought a fire engine there for the kids to see. “Our kids wanted to make them feel comfortable,” said Kristy McLellan, mother of the two boys and the organizer of the event. No stranger to charity, Kristy works for the non-profit organization Harvest Hope Food Bank, which normally collects food to donate to the needy. When her son’s birthdays came around, she and the boys decided to do something a little different this time and came up with the idea of collecting the toys.
Kristy explained to the kids that sometimes other little boys and girls find themselves in scary situations. Whether it’s a house fire or car accident, Kristy asked her sons what they wanted to do to help them stay calm if they were in that situation. The kids said that without a doubt, they would want a stuffed animal with them. Kristy gives the boys all the credit for coming up with the idea for the birthday event.
Along with the many children and their parents that attended the party, there were West Columbia police officer and crews from the city’s fire department, all of whom were ecstatic to receive the gifts. “What Bryce and Parker are doing is exceptional and they serve as role models to the youth in the Midlands area,” said Officer J. Phillip who was there on site. He also remarked that the boys were mature beyond their years to be doing such a charitable thing.
Though their actual birthday dates had passed, Bryce recently turned 5, and Parker turned 8, both boys decided to wait to celebrate until this event could be organized to make it extra special. The party had around approximately 30 guests who attended. Of course, since each child in attendance brought a stuffed animal, the fire department received quite the bounty. Hopefully, they’ll never have to be used, but if they’re needed, they'll be available thanks to the kindness of the McClellans.