Lindsay and Keifer Wallace got to pick a furry friend from the "bear closet" at Beauvoir Elementary in Biloxi. It was a tough decision, considering so many cute, cuddly creatures, just waiting to give a child a hug.
Keifer picked one of the biggest bears on the shelves. He said " I'm thinking of calling him Broccoli Bob, Jr. because my step mom has a bear like this, and it's called Broccoli Bob".
Second Grade Teacher Becky Pettigrew started the "Brave Bear Project" right after the war began to help comfort children whose parents are deployed overseas. Pettigrew said "We really all love our troops and want to show them that we are taking care of their families while they're away".
Pettigrew invited General Michael Peterson from Keesler Air Force Base to share in this "beary" special program. The general thanked the 24 children for being strong, and gave them some comforting words.
He said "I know when I was deployed in the Middle East, it was always harder on my family that I left behind. It won't be too long before we start to see some of our moms and dads and brothers and sisters and sons and daughters start to come home, come back from the war".
In the meantime, the children have a new friend to help make a traumatic situation a bit more bearable. Sixth Grader Lindsay Wallace said "I feel kinda happy, because somebody notices and somebody's taking action and stuff for how the kids feel. It gives them something to hug on, to picture that's their parent, mom, dad, step dad, aunt, or uncle".
Beauvoir Elementary, with help from Clear Channel Radio, collected hundreds of stuff animals for the "Brave Bear Project." Some of the bears have already been donated to Keesler and the Seabee Base.