Girl pays it forward after a gift from police officer

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A 4-year-old girl who received a very special gift from a police officer on the day she got into a car accident is paying it forward.

Annabelle Geissler got into a minor traffic accident with her parents on a Sunday morning in November of 2013.

To make a shook-up toddler feel a little better, an Eau Claire police officer who responded to the accident gave her a stuffed animal.
And that little animal, made a big impact.

“To try to relax them and to put the smile on their face is the biggest thing,” said Dan Theis, Eau Claire police officer who responded to the crash Annabelle was involved in.

Never knowing when he's going to need one, Officer Dan Theis says he carries about 20 of the stuffed animals in his squad car.
They're all donated by the community through the "Love Bear" program.

“With the contact that we have with the families, especially young kids, it could be disturbance type of situation or it could be an accident,” said Theis, “a lot of times these little children they're apprehensive they're scared they don't know what's going on.”
Annabelle’s mother, Christina Geissler says her daughter named her stuffed puppy Sleeping Beauty.

“She had a lot of question s about the accident itself, when she got the puppy it really helped her,” explained Geissler.

Geissler says the gesture last fall was so helpful and touching, that the family decided to donate a few bears to the department.
They're hoping in the future, the toys might brighten up another child's day.

“I've always told Anabel that officers are wonderful people and that they are there to help no matter what; and if anything happens that's the first person you should get a hold off,” added Geissler.

Some elementary schools in the area like Meadowview Elementary and other charitable organizations collect the stuffed animals for the "love bear" program. The animals are then passed onto law enforcement.

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