PETERSBURG, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A local mom is coping with the loss of her sons by reaching out to help others. Her ‘Teddy Bears with Hearts’ are a gift of healing for families in crisis and her own broken heart.
As Michelle Jones picks up her hook and yarn, its her way of keeping busy and dealing with grief.
“I think I started something special,” said Jones.
She has had a heavy heart ever since Troy Police told her that her 40-year-old son Eric was killed in a hit-and-run in April 2021.
Zaequan J. Morrison, 23 — previously from Troy and currently living in Bethlehem, Pa. — was arrested in July, and the case is making its way through the courts.
“I’m still kind of in shock about it, and it’s only been about five months,” said Jones.
Jones’s hobby of crocheting has transformed into a way of connecting with others. After her youngest son Kyle passed away from pneumonia in 1998, she started ‘Teddy Bears with Hearts’.
“I started making the bears for the Petersburg Rescue Squad in memory of our youngest son,” said Jones.
Now, she is making colorful and cuddly bears for the Troy Police Department. Members of the police department hand them out when they meet families in crisis.
Troy Police Detective Sergeant Mary Magnetto went last week to the Jones’s home to pick up 10 bears. Magnetto says this gesture goes a long way for children and adults.
“Most likely, it’s on their worst day of their lives, and especially for children, they are put in that situation or just innocent bystanders in the situation. It definitely helps bring them some comfort,” said Magnetto.
Jones is also finding comfort in the influx of families reaching out who are experiencing the same pain she is in.
“A lot of them have lost family members to hit-and-runs. They never found the drivers for a lot of them, and I was totally shocked,” said Jones.
Over a span of two days, and all different colors of yarn, Jones crochets the bears from the heart. She is always looking for a helping hand, and donations as orders are coming in.
“The state police department wants them, and I already recruited some help,” said Jones.