Arizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA) members are celebrating its 17th year of bringing Christmas joy to children receiving treatment in various medical centers across the state.  These dedicated Department of Public Safety (DPS) employees will begin delivering bears and holiday cheer December 16th through Christmas Day.

The mission of the program is to carry out an activity that demonstrates children are the association’s most important responsibility. Since 1993, the program has expanded to provide the stuffed teddy bears to both children and adults at their bed or road sides. The success is attributed to the efforts and talents of volunteers giving countless hours of their time to make the Christmas Bear Program an overwhelming success.

The tremendous joy that is brought to the hospital patients with the bears is only a part of the benefit that results from the program. “Additionally, AHPA cares to establish a communication mechanism to have children better understand that police officers are helpers and protectors,” state Jimmy Chavez, President of the AHPA. “Witnessing the faces of those receiving the teddy bears is all that one needs to know the program is making a positive difference in many lives.”

AHPA has dedicated the 2010 program to all police officers that have lost their lives in the line of duty.  According to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund, as of December 15th officer fatalities have increased 40% over last year, making 2010 one of the most dangerous years in law enforcement history.

In 2009, AHPA’s volunteers distributed over 2,000 bears to hospitals throughout the state of Arizona. The 2010 program will give away bears to patients in statewide medical centers, domestic violence shelters and hospice locations.

Below are dates and times that have been confirmed for Christmas Bear deliveries.  This list will be updated on the website as we get more confirmations in.

December 16th:         Arrowhead Hospital, Glendale; Mendy’s Place at John C. Lincoln, Phoenix; Banner Thunderbird, Phoenix

December 17th:         Yuma Regional Medical Center, Yuma

READ YUMA SUN’S COVERAGE HERE

December 21st:          Tucson Medical Center, Tucson; University Medical Center, Tucson; St. Joseph’s Hospital, Phoenix; Maricopa County, Phoenix; Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix

December 24th:        Summit Regional Medical Center, Show Low; Safe House, Pine Top;

Mercy Gilbert, Gilbert, AZ; Banner Desert, Mesa, AZ and Scottsdale Healthcare-Shea

READ KTAR’S COVERAGE HERE

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