20th Annual Highway Patrol Christmas Bear Program Kicks-Off Throughout Arizona Hospitals

Christmas-comfortbear-imageArizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA) members are celebrating its 20th 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 18th through Christmas Day.

“The bears serve as communication mechanisms to help children better understand that police officers are to help and protect them,” 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.”

The mission of the program is to demonstrate children are the association’s most important responsibility. AHPA collects new stuffed animals all year round for children.  Many DPS Officers keep bears in their patrol cars, so they are always prepared to comfort a child they encounter.  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.  Generous donations from Arizona’s community have helped fund the bears each year.

In 2012, AHPA’s volunteers distributed over 2,000 bears to hospitals throughout the state of Arizona. The 2013 program will give away bears to patients in statewide medical centers, domestic violence shelters and hospice locations.

AHPA has dedicated the 2012 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 18th the nation has lost 124 officers.  Arizona alone has lost two police officers.

Below are dates and times that have been confirmed for Christmas Bear deliveries, where media is invited.  (More hospitals, dates and media invitations are still being confirmed.)

December 16, 2013

Phoenix Children’s Hospital (1919 East Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ)

Banner Thunderbird (5555 W. Thunderbird Road, Phoenix, AZ)

December 17, 2013

Children’s Emergency Center, Mendy’s Place, John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital (19829 N. 27th Ave., Phoenix, Ariz.)

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Arrowhead Hospital (18701 N. 67th Ave., Glendale, AZ)

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December 19, 2013

Crisis Nursery, Phoenix, AZ

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December 20, 2013

Flagstaff Medical Center, Flagstaff, AZ

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December 24, 2013

University Medical Center (1501, University Medical Center, Tucson, AZ)

Tucson Medical Hospital (5301 East Grant Road, Tucson, AZ)

 

The AHPA accepts monetary contributions and new bears all year round. Check back often for photos from our visits!

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