Teddy bears leave legacy, help heal

More than 70 teddy bears have been made from Micah’s clothing, each one with a unique flare. The bears have been sold to benefit the Micah Roelofs Scholarship Foundation, which issued its first round of scholarships to FCS graduates this year.

Teddy bears are leaving a physical presence and a lasting legacy for a 12-year-old boy who was killed in a vehicle roll-over last spring.

Micah Roelofs’ clothing has been transformed from hunting gear, sports teams uniforms and pajamas into huggable, squeeze-able bears thanks largely to the idea of his grandmother and the sewing talents of Theresa Bemis. The concept came to Carol Berg, Micah’s paternal grandmother, after listening to a popular radio program.

“And the idea kind of blossomed into this,” Berg said.

More than 70 bears have been crafted so far and sold as part of the Micah Roelofs Scholarship Foundation, that awarded five Faith Christian School graduates this year with money for college. The $1,700 raised was split between FCS seniors Tyler McCormick, Alison Bechtle, Justin Childs, Heather Bechtle and Mariah Roelofs.

Each bear comes with a packet of information on Micah, his faith and his favorite place — the river behind the Roelofs’ home where he would spend many afternoons.

“Micah loved it back there. It’s like a park,” Berg said. “And every bear is personalized. Every bear has Micah’s name in the left ear.”

The bears also contain a message urging people to “Buckle up with Jesus” — Micah was not belted when he was killed.

Not only have the bears helped others pay for some of the costs of starting their college careers, but they have also helped those close to the boy cope with the loss.

“It’s been so therapeutic,” Berg said. “You just take it, put it in your arms and have a good cry.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, June 7 print edition of the Times.