We are happy to keep bringing you Hugs Across America news, highlight activities of our volunteers and create a fun place for our visitors, supporters and friends of our mission.
Jo and Tom Weyrick of the Peace Reformed Church in Eagan, Minnesota, and leaders of the Eagan - Peace Chapter of Hugs are providing over 200 teddies to help ease the anxiety of those youngsters on the school bus that rested perilessly close to the edge of disaster.
The youngsters, on a swimming trip with Waite House, Pillsbury United Community Center, were escorted to safety by their quick thinking aids...but the anxiety lingers. The thought of future bridge crossings does not rest easy on these young hearts. Thanks to the assistance of Dr. Jeannie Shur of the American Red Cross and Director Kay Cunningham of Waite House, the children will have plenty of hugs to help.
Teddies are being given to hundreds of children, some airlifted for surgeries, on board the USNS Comfort. Pictures speak a thousand words, as staff bring joy to frightened youngsters and their families whose lives will never be the same. Thanks to the USNS Comfort for their help in reaching hurting children.
When this youngster returned to his home in Ladyville, Belize after his surgery, he was delighted by the helicopter ride back, but sure held on tight to his teddy bear!
Guatemalan Vice President, Dr Eduardo Stein Barillas, visted patients aboard the Military Sealift Command as it continued its four month humanitarian deployment in the US Naval Forces Southern Command.
As seen in "Navy News Stand," Laura Stavridis, wife of Adm. James Stavridis, joined the Comfort in giving teddy bears ... donated by Hugs Across America, to young children from Colon Panama, before they visited the doctor.
50 teddies went to Charlestan, South Carolina to bring a message of love and prayer for the families of 9 firemen who lost their lives in a warehouse fire. Pam Blevins on the staff of the Fire Chief in Charleston felt the bears would bring a great message to the children and their moms..."They are not alone."
Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort Executive Officer Capt. Mary Jean Herden and Commanding Officer Capt. Bruce Boynton share thoughts on upcoming deployment after a presentation of teddy bears (among the 650 teddies delivered) from Hugs Across America by Director Sue Lucarelli.
Hugs donated bears for future child patients on Comfort's upcoming deployment during a multi month humanitarian assistance tour to the US Southern Command area of responsibility. The ships commanding officers, both Pediatricians, were delighted to have teddies available to ease the anxiety and pain of injured or sick youngsters who will receive medical treatment aboard the hospital ship as they tour around the world. The Comfort is the 5th largest hospital in the US, and includes 12 operating rooms. Truly an amazing ship with an equally amazing mission!
The monies for purchaes of these bears were given by Dr. Judy De Felice in honor of her friend Jean Battle. Jean Battle, a civilian employee of the United States Navy, worked first as a steward, then an ordinary seaman and most recently as a mate steering an oil tanker on the high seas until her retirement in 200l. Jean's fondest wish was to join the staff of the USNS Comfort but passed away in 2006. We are honored to share her wish in this way.
Saturday, June 2nd, 40 ( approx. ) children/parents attended the Teddy Bear Picnic, held at the Reformed Church auditorium in Manhasset. This was our first year with the picnic which included stuffing teddy bears( one for yourself /one for a child in crisis), Castle Bounce, games, craft activities, face painting, water sponge toss, children's special auction (Madame Alexander Doll & Nicki the American Girl Doll 2007), Elmo and the Clown... and FREE PIZZA!
We would obviously love to have better attendance and we can talk about the time/date/place for the event, but we still netted $675. ... Our expenses where greater this year as prizes, bear skins, a beautifully home made stuffing machine( thanks to Linda's husband...the Doctor ) and craft/games were purchased that will not need to be next year. We also had a Castle Bounce activity that cost $250....but attracted attention. SOOOOO!
I am always concerned about labor intensive activities .... and must thank Linda Dispensa BIG TIME for organizing, decorating, cleaning up and purchasing needed items. ... as well as Anthony DeMartinis for braving the wet sponge to the face activity >>>> What a champ!!! 'Course decorating was lonelier than necessary for Linda and I ... and we do need to talk about how to work that out next year .... but, HEY, it was fun!!! Made lots of new friends for HUGS and the Board members who were there were a great help. Thanks to Caroline Laur, Mary Clark, Emmy Liss, and Reggie Papa who also brought her grandchildren, for their help.