Operation Teddy Bear comforts children of deployed soldiers

Posted at 5:44 PM, Jan 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-18 19:44:55-05

WEST VALLEY CITY – Children whose parents are deployed soldiers often experience separation anxiety, but a local organization is helping to alleviate those feelings by giving children a teddy bear with a special message.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars post 4918 carried out “Operation Teddy Bear,” which provided children of soldiers deployed overseas with a teddy bear that will feature a recorded message from the deployed parent.

The bears are in a uniform to match the branch of service the child’s parent serves in, and when the children hug the bears, a recorded message plays.

Mother Emily Tani said having the bear is helpful for her children while their father is away.

“It just means so much that people care,” she said. “And that my kids are sacrificing for their father to be away, and people care about them. It's not just about the soldiers, but the people they left behind.”

The organization gave away several dozen bears Saturday, and the plan is to send the bears to the deployed parents so they can record a message before sending them back to their children. FOX 13 News’ Ashton Goodell was at the event, see the video above for her live report.

According to a press release from Veterans of Foreign Wars, the program has given away more than 1,000 such comfort bears since they began the project three years ago.