Group continues mission of ‘giving back’

Over 350 students and volunteers made stuffed animals at Seymour Lake Township Park earlier in the month.

42-Strong donates 350 stuffed animals

By Don Rush

Sometimes when young children are thrust into difficult situations — like auto accidents or home fires — a simple thing such as a stuffed animal given out by a police officer or firefighter can offer those children a sense of security. Earlier in August, over 350 students and volunteers gathered in Seymour Lake Township Park to build stuffed animals that were donated to Oakland County Sheriff’s Bears on Patrol program.

The students and volunteers are part of 42-Strong – The Tate Myre Foundation.

The event started with team building exercises provided from the Magnovo Training Group based in Indiana,” said the foundation’s treasurer and operations director Joel McCormick. “Magnovo Training Group is a company specializing in team building, charity team building, and professional development programs. One of the activities they offered was building stuffed animals. We thought what a great opportunity to give this to an organization that could put these to good use.”

The monthly team building event, organized by Foundation Event Coordinator Elizabeth Pike who also made it a “giving back to the community” program.

They (the Bears on Patrol people)were excited and grateful to receive such a large donation of stuffed animals for their program,” she said.

McCormick added, “We very much appreciate the support from Oxford Parks & Recreation, The Wildcat Boosters & the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department for helping make this such a great event.”

42-Strong – The Tate Myre Foundation was started by the Myre family after their son, Tate and three other Oxford High School students, Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin, and Justin Shilling were killed on Nov. 30, 2021 by a fellow student with a handgun. The foundation supports a peer mentoring program which matches high schoolers with middle schoolers. Mentors are students from the 10th through 12th grades, their mentees are in grades seven through nine. They are matched based on student likes and similarities and ideally there is a three-year age gap between mentors and mentees. Each group of 10 mentors/mentees has an adult leader assigned to them.

Last year we had 268 people participate in our program with 19 group leaders,” Foundation Direct Scott Claxton said.

According to McCormick, this year the number has grown substantially. “We have 430 Mentor and Mentees, plus 31 Team Leaders,” he said.

The Bears on Patrol website states, “ These warm and fuzzy friends are one way to ease the fears of young children who are caught in difficult situations, often bringing a sense of security to a child who is overcome with anxiety. Many area service groups and individuals have generously donated teddy bears and other stuffed animals for this program. If you would like to know how to contribute teddy bears to the Bears on Patrol program, please send us an email at”

To learn more about the 42 Strong foundation, visit their website,

 Photos courtesy of 42 Strong – the Tate Myre Foundation


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