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December 21, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Kent firefighters mourn loss of 'Teddy Bear Friend'

Two of the teddy bears created by Barbara Joslin.

The Kent Fire Department has lost its beloved “Teddy Bear Friend,” Barbara Joslin.

Mrs. Joslin died Dec. 12 following a battle with breast cancer, according to Capt. Kyle Ohashi. For more than 10 years she made hundreds of teddy bears that Kent firefighters gave to children who had been involved in medical emergencies or other traumatic incidents, including fires, traffic accidents and domestic-violence calls.

“All Kent Fire Department apparatus carry at least one ‘Barbara Bear’ on it to hand out to any children who need an emotional boost and something soft and fuzzy to hang onto during an emergency,” Ohasi said in a news release.

He said the bears have moving arms and legs and play music. Each took approximately 30 hours and $35 to create. The Joslins covered the cost of all the materials, he said.

After Kent firefighter Marty Hauer died of cancer in June 2008, Mrs. Joslin gave bears to his children. Hauer’s widow, Kris, said the bears comforted the children, especially at night, Ohashi said.

Mrs. Joslin, 74, estimated that she had created 450 bears for the Fire Department.

“Barbara was someone that made a difference in every person’s life who saw, touched, or received one of the special bears she made,” said Kent Fire Chief Jim Schneider.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Kent Fire Department

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