“Teddy Bears for the Troops”

National Guard Bear
National Guard Bear

In my opinion, every company needs to give back to the community where they serve.  From multi-national corporations to single person operations like LOGO Dynamics, every needs to support a charity they believe in.  For me it is “Teddy Bears for the Troops” in which a $5 donation can be “funneled” into a 7″ teddy bear to be given to a Virginia National Guard soldier to be given to their son or daughter as they are being deployed.  No funds are taken out for freight or administration. Every dollar given goes into bears.

How it came about–Tricia Riggs, now Director of the USO at the Richmond Airport, was the Family Support Co-ordinator for the Central VA area for the National Guard.  I met her when my Ruritan group “adopted” a unit, the 2-225th Aviation Battalion flying Black Hawk helicopters out of the Airport area.  She called one day and said, “Matt, how can I find some cheap teddy bears?”  Asked “Why?”, she said, “We have this unit going to Afghanistan to look for roadside bombs and they want to give their kids a bear before they go”.  I passed the hat and made some phone calls and we donated 200 bears for the cause at no charge to the National Guard or families.

About 3 months later, I got a call from a general saying “I want to meet you” and I met Gen. Steven Huxtable, 2nd in command at the time the next day. He said, “I can get money for marriage retreats and kids summer camps, but I can’t get a dime for what you did. How can I get you to do more?”  I told him I’d see what I could do.  I tried several organizations and attempted several fund-raisers but nothing was particularly helpful until I started doing e-mail marketing through Constant Contact.  I use the Event Spot module and the first time in 2011 raised enough to buy 50 bears @ $5 each.  I have since done another collection and sent another 50 bears.  The picture on my Facebook page for LOGO Dynamics was taken presenting the original 50 to the Family Readiness Unit at the National Guard HQ in Sandston, VA. in 2011.

If you would like to donate, make checks payable to LOGO Dynamics and mail to PO Box 891, Glen Allen, VA 23060 and to my attention.  Donations accepted year around and special emphasis made in the 60 days before Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  Whenever there is enough to get 50 bears an order will be placed with a supplier of mine inn Philadephia. Each bear has a camo tee shirt with the National Guard “Minuteman” logo on it and wears a floppy “boonie” hat.

Challenge: find the charity you are passionate about and do what you can to help them. It they are “smart” they will welcome your expertise and give you opportunity to advertise your involvement. When the National Guard needed tee shirts for kids at summer camp, they called me. I gave them a good “deal” and was able to save them some money.

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