PARKER - A 10-year-old boy in Parker is collecting hundreds of teddy bears for children who have been traumatized by tragedy or crimes.
Many departments across the country have adopted the Teddy Bear Program, including Parker Police. Lieutenant Chris Peters says its an opportunity to make a difference in a young person's life.
"A lot of times when you think about law enforcement you think about how we deal with the bad guys," Lt. Peters said. "Connecting with children with something as simple as a stuffed animal and some kind words just really goes a long way."
Daniel Velasquez was only 4-years-old when he was involved in a car accident that sent him and his mother, Suzanne, to the hospital.
"We were T-boned by a plumbing truck," Mrs. Velasquez said. "It was a really difficult time for him. He didn't want to get in the car afterwards and he didn't want to go anywhere."
Parker police officer Casey Cashman changed everything for Daniel. He showed up to the hospital to check on the family and gave the child a bear, something that had a lasting impact on Daniel. The officer mentioned that the bear was one of the department's last.
"It was the last one the Parker Police Department had and it made me feel inspired," Daniel said. "It felt like I didn't need it as much as other kids did."
For the past several years, Daniel has been collecting stuffed animals so Parker police officers can give them to other children. Last year, he collected around 40. This year, he has more than 700.
Friday, he collected dozens more while at Ave Maria Catholic School in Parker. Daniel presented to a 4th grade class and told them about his initiative.
"It's kind of weird because I don't get to know them but I'm helping them," Daniel said. "It makes me feel really happy."
Parker Police say Daniel's act of paying it forward is inspirational for them, too.
"Everyone got into this job for a reason, they were inspired somehow. Something like this rekindles that inspiration," Lt. Peters said.
This year, Daniel plans on giving the stuffed animals to local fire departments and hospitals as well.
(© 2017 KUSA)