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Article / Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone.

To whom much is given, much is expected. The Carpenters Regional Council is fortunate to have a team of successful contractors who provide us with good jobs, great pay and a stable livelihood. Always grateful, we give back in countless ways to our communities and those less fortunate, and that spirit of giving extends to our carpenter families.

Megan Cook, daughter of Tim (Local 662) and Cathy Cook, our CJAP welding coordinator, saw a need in her community of Okawville, Illinois and decided to take action. 



Police and firefighters responding to emergency calls often encounter children who are scared, traumatized and need comforting. “It could be a traffic crash or a domestic call and if you can offer the child a stuffed toy it gives them something to hold onto. It’s basically a security blanket in the shape of an animal,” said Okawville Police Chief Steve Millikin.


In January, Megan started collecting the “comfort critters” through donation boxes she set up at businesses around her hometown. “I was thinking we might get a decent amount, but not like this. It really surprised me,” she said of the 1,700 plush toys that came pouring in. So many, in fact, the she had plenty of extras to donate to the Salvation Army and a children’s home in the neighboring town of Hoyleton. 

It’s been a lot of work for a junior in high school already juggling classes, homework and sports, but Megan stayed committed to seeing her idea through to the end, something she says she gets from her mom. “Being in carpentry, my mom is a real go-getter and always open to new things. I really respect her.”

“We are very proud of the young lady that Megan has become,” said Cathy.  “She’s a good student, an athlete, involved in her community and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.”

Megan’s collection drive was so successful that her comfort critters are now being used by police and EMS in half a dozen towns throughout Washington County.