Deputy Joel Ramirez responds to incidents where children are facing child abuse, neglect and sometimes molestation on a regular basis. 

When he recently handed a child in an abusive home a crocheted doll, the child “immediately grabbed it and started hugging it by the neck,” Ramirez said. 

“The kiddos need love and comfort and they can find it in the doll. It helps them not feel alone,” Ramirez said. 

Ramirez went to Elmbrook Home, a local nursing and assisted living home, last week to pick up around 10 dolls for Carter County Sheriff’s officers to keep in their vehicles. “When we do run into a child in need, or anything to that effect, we’ll have them in our vehicles to give out.” 

A 93-year-old resident at the nursing home volunteered to donate the dolls to the department. Back in the day, Ramirez said the woman owned her own costume store. 

“Now that she’s bedridden, in order to stay busy and keep her mind occupied, she sits there and knits and works on these dolls,” Ramirez said. “She has volunteered to give them away or donate them to us for these kids who are in need, for the shelter homes, for Sara’s Project, and things like that.” 

Ramirez said he has only given out one of the dolls so far, but plans to take the rest to Sara’s Project and a local shelter home later today. Those won’t be the last of the dolls, either. Ramirez said the woman plans to continue knitting dolls for the department. 

“She’s indicated that she’s going to keep making more for the kiddos, which is really nice,” Ramirez said. 

Individuals can bring yarn, fabrics, buttons and trims to the Elmbrook Activity Department to help with supplies for future dolls. 

In some of the homes where the children who are victims of child abuse, neglect or molestation reside, they’ve never had a doll or anything to comfort them, Ramirez said. 

With his brother, Dr. Henry Ramirez, delivering babies at the Ardmore Mercy Hospital, Deputy Ramirez said he believes his purpose is to protect and help those children. 

“It’s a great feeling working with kiddos when they’re in need or have gone through some traumatic moment,” Ramirez said. “It, for me, brings joy to my heart to be able to see that I’m helping them.”