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Presents for pediatrics

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | December 19, 2020 1:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — It was quite the ho ho haul of toys when Coeur d'Alene Police officers rolled up to Kootenai Health on Friday, blue and red lights blazing.

They came bearing gifts for the little and not-so-little ones who will find themselves in Kootenai Health's care through the holidays.

This is at least the sixth year for the Coeur d'Alene Police Foundation Children's Hospital Toy Drive, and it's the biggest: $5,000 in toys and gifts.

"I think it's so great," pediatrics nurse manager Adriane Golob said.

The toys will become a part of Andrea's Closet, a special toy and prize closet used to reward patients as a token for being brave during an IV start, walking for the first time after surgery or as they prepare to leave the hospital, Golob explained. The closet is stocked throughout the year for young patients from babies to teens.

"We have a great relationship with the Coeur d'Alene Police Department. They help with this and in the past with the teddy bear clinic," she said. "It's just really endearing to see these grown men that are big and burly with our cute little patients or our little community kiddos."

Dr. Vanessa Carroll-Ohmes, medical director of Kootenai Health pediatric services, said COVID-19 has made 2020 a really tough year, "and having that community support, those police officers wanting to take their time after they're beaten emotionally and physically, to do something for someone else, I think, restores your faith in what an incredible community this is.

"That truly is benevolence," she said. "That's what is most impressive — not so much the gift, but the act."

A $2,500 gift from local Les Schwab Tire Centers was matched by the Coeur d'Alene Police Foundation.

"We know the kids are away from home through the holidays and we want to try to make this as special as possible, even though they are where they are, and not at home," Coeur d'Alene Police Sgt. S.C. Avriett said.

Not only will the Coeur d'Alene Police Foundation Children's Hospital Toy Drive help Kootenai Health — toys will also go to the Sacred Heart Children's Hospital, where many Kootenai County kids receive treatment.

"We want to make sure that our kiddos, regardless of where they receive medical treatment over the holidays, that they're getting taken care of," Avriett said.

photo

DEVIN WEEKS/Press

Coeur d'Alene Police Officer Eric Breakie spreads Christmas cheer on Friday as he helps carry bags of toys that will go to children and teens in the pediatric unit at Kootenai Health. About $5,000 in gifts were delivered as part of the Coeur d'Alene Police Foundation Children's Hospital Toy Drive.