Local friends know that my hubby and I spend a great deal of time at the local Waffle House on 109. Sometimes late at night, I’ll take a box of review books in with me and we’ll record each item, make comments, and read. Often employees ask for copies of the books for their children and for themselves. The employees give back equally with their comments, questions, and stories of how the books are received when read. One story though doesn’t come from our book reviewing.
Instead I want to share with you the story of the manager Steve Cotcher and his family’s special project “MyHuggy.” Steve told me about Operation Bear Drop for the children of deploying soldiers. You can read about it on their blog at http://myhuggy.blogspot.com/ and watch several YouTube videos about this. This is a 501 (c) (3) organization so their labor is of love, not making luxurious lifestyles for a company. I asked Steve when the next military shipment goes out and he mentioned they are still raising the $11000 to ship these overseas for soldiers to record their own voices sending messages of love and stories to their children back home.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/myhuggy.bear.7
Video with Steve’s mother and cousin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrpHFX6LQq0
Video with Steve and Montel Williams
Wounded Times Blog story http://woundedtimes.blogspot.com/2009/03/my-huggy-bear-for-deployed-troops.html
Video interview with Steve and the lovely lady who became his wife in 2010. (Should I mention they met through MyHuggy bear?)
At times like these I wish we could involve more people to help get the word out and speed up the next shipment of bears. Where’s the country music star singing overseas for the USO and military tours that could help support this? I tried going to the website www.myhuggy.com, but there were glitches. So, I’d suggest going to the facebook page, adopting their cause, or contacting Steve Cotcher directly to help.
There is a cause you can like ABOUT ADOPT-A-BEAR FOR MILITARY FAMILIES which states their goal:”To donate a MyHuggy audio recordable teddybear to every US military family so their loves ones can hug and hear them while they are a way. The men and women of our armed forces put their own lives on the line and fight for us all day, everyday. As a military family we are plainly aware of the sacrifices made by the unsung heroes of this situation; the children. Every dollar donated goes directly to supporting that cause.”
I’ve seen some bears that allow you to record short messages, but the combined package of MyHuggy bear is what is unique here. The voice activates when the bear is hugged. Each box that connects via USB into the bear can contain 20 minutes of voice – enough to tell a story, sing a song, say a prayer, and send love. The boxes can be switched out so every member of the family can record their voice. Think about the child in the hospital who misses the entire family; grandparents far away; and especially the deployed service men and women who often return to a child who doesn’t recognize them. We know voice is important for memory. Think about that just born baby who hears daddies voice in the hospital and turns toward the sound to see who has been talking to them for months.
If you know someone who could benefit from MyHuggy, please consider helping their project. I wish you could join me for a cup of coffee and listen to Steve talk about what a difference these bears are making. Tonight I sat with his oldest son who is mentioned in the video as not recognizing his dad, even running away from him when he returned from deployment. The pain in Steve’s eyes as he recalls that moment makes it clear his dedication to helping other soldiers so none of them need experience pain upon their return. Wouldn’t this make an excellent project for libraries to help with? We are all about the experience of connecting stories to readers and here’s a chance to connect a reader and his or her story to a child through MyHuggy bear.