BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - When is a toy more than a toy? When it’s given to a child who has just gone through a traumatic situation. That’s exactly what’s happening at Childrens’ of Alabama.
The children who are flown to the hospital on the Childrens’ Critical Care Transport are each given a small, wooden helicopter. The toys are made by volunteers at the Alabama Woodworkers Guild. They build 12,000 toy helicopters a year for the flight team to give to the children who fly with them. There’s a simple chopper for younger kids and a more detailed version for older children.
No matter what their age, flying on a helicopter when you’re hurt or sick can be scary but the toy softens the memory. Al Coltrane is one of the woodworkers he says, “Instead of feeling trauma, fear and distress they’ll feel happy when they grab that little toy and say, hey, this is what I came in on.”
Linda Simcik is chair of the Alabama Woodworkers Guild Toy Group and knows the impression these little toys make on the children. She says, “It gives me goosebumps every time. Sometimes it brings tears to my eyes. It’s a joyful, good feeling.”
Nobody gets that good feeling more than Jason Peterson, flight nurse and director of Children’s Critical Care Transport. He sees the kids light up when they’re given a toy copter and says, “They’re just happy. They’re like, this is cool!”
If you’d like to know more about the Alabama Woodworkers Guild and all the volunteer activities they offer, click here.
Know someone “Doing Good”?