Husband continues wife’s holiday legacy


The Teddy Bear donation to local law enforcement and VFDs was a passion for Susan Van Geertruy. Her husband fulfilled her wish to give them to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and local fire departments. – Submitted Photo

MOUNT IDA – One man’s love for his wife and her legacy of giving has provided area law enforcement and first responders with a gift that will allow them to offer some comfort to children in tragic situations.
Bill Van Geertruy presented 20 teddy bears and stuffed animals to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Saturday, November 28. The plush toys are to be given to children who have experienced a vehicle accident, house fire, or other tragedy. Stuffed animals have been a part of the compassionate service law enforcement officers and first responders provide for years. This gift will help local law enforcement and first responders continue this tradition.
This act of kindness was near and dear to the heart of Bill’s wife, Susan Van Geertruy. He shared that she had purchased teddy bears for local law enforcement while they lived in Wisconsin. When they moved to Montgomery County many of these bears came with them with the intent to be shared with local law enforcement agencies here.
Unfortunately, Susan passed away in March without being able to fulfill her wish of presenting the bears to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. While dealing with the loss of his wife Bill discovered the bears and knew he had to carry out her wish of delivering the bears to local law enforcement.

Members of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Caddo Gap Volunteer Fire Department, Joplin Volunteer Fire Department, Mount Ida Volunteer Fire Department, Norman Volunteer Fire Department, and South Fork Volunteer Fire Department show off some of the bears donated by Bill Van Geertruy on behalf of his late wife Susan. Pictured left to right: Julie Coffman, Loren Michener, Monty Coffman, Ron Crane, David Kimball, Brandon Cook; (kneeling) Barry Craw and David Felasca. – Group photo by Dewayne Holloway

Many of the bears are collectible bears sold during the Christmas season at a Dayton Hudson store in Wisconsin. These limited edition bears are dressed in a variety of costumes including a fire fighter’s uniform. While talking about the 48 years he and his wife were married he shared that the only fights he remembered were over him spoiling Susan. He added that he had no idea how much she was spending on the bears and joked that it was a good thing he couldn’t say no to her.
The bears were delivered to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday and were distributed among local fire departments and the sheriff’s office.
Bill stated that you should never pass up an opportunity to tell a loved one that you love them. These beautiful teddy bears are just one more way for he and his wife Susan to share their love with others.

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