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EC Sheriff’s dept.wins NRA mascot costume

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FAIRFAX, Va.- Officer Larry Cheek of the Ellis County Sheriff's Department in Waxahachie, submitted the winning application for the 2007 Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program mascot costume competition in Texas. Ellis County Sheriff's Department will receive an Eddie Eagle costume, at no cost, to aid them in their gun accident prevention efforts among young children.

Launched in 1988, Eddie Eagle was created by past NRA President Marion P. Hammer, in consultation with child psychologists, elementary school teachers and law enforcement officers.

It teaches children in pre-K through the third grade the following safety message: If you see a gun: STOP! Don't Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult.

Since inception, more than 26,000 law enforcement officers, schoolteachers, and community safety leaders have taught the program to more than 20 million young children.

The program's delivery has been enhanced by the availability, beginning in 1996, of Eddie Eagle mascot costumes to law enforcement agencies.

The costume helps capture children's attention during presentations, and leaves a lasting positive impression.

According to Officer Cheek, the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program started more than three years ago in the Ellis County area after many people were moving in with concealed handguns.

'We plan on using the costume to teach children and the community the importance of gun safety,' said Officer Cheek.

'We also plan to use Eddie Eagle in parades and in other public places, letting the citizens know who Eddie Eagle is and what he represents to the public.'

Over the years, the Eddie Eagle program has been praised by numerous groups and elected officials, including the Association of American Educators, the Youth Activities Division of the National Safety Council, the National Sheriffs' Association, the U.S. Department of Justice (through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency), 26 state governors and 23 state legislatures, just to name a few.

Since the Eddie Eagle Program was launched, the annual number of firearm-related deaths among children of the program's age group declined more than 80 percent.

Gun accident prevention programs such as Eddie Eagle are a significant factor in that decline.

The Eddie Eagle costume represents a $2,650 value for the Ellis County Sheriff's Department and was made possible through a contribution by the North Texas Friends of NRA.

Thanks to the support of Friends of NRA (www.nrafou ndation.org/friends) around the country, 22 costumes have been donated through this contest to law enforcement agencies since 2001.

The NRA encourages citizens nationwide to participate in heightening gun accident prevention awareness within their local communities.

Law enforcement agencies, schools, civic groups, and others interested in more information about the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program should visit www.nrah q.org/safety/eddie, call 800-231-0752 or send an e-mail to eddie@nrahq.org.

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Nelson Propane

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