We are happy to keep bringing you Hugs Across America news, highlight activities of our volunteers and create a fun place for our visitors, supporters and friends of our mission.
500 teddies from Hugs Across America just joined the Navy to assist in a good will mission bringing medical assisstance and comfort to needy families in Latin America and the Caribbean. Two U.S. Navy amphibious ships have been involved with project "Continuing Promise", providing health care and other relief services to nine Latin American and Caribbean nations during this humanitarian and civic assistance mission. Continuing Promise offers valuable training to U.S. military personnel while promoting partnerships and goodwill. USS Boxer (LHD 4) wrapped up the first phase in June after its embarked medical and engineering crews worked with partner nations to provide services in three countries. Beginning in August, USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) will conduct the second phase, bringing care to six nations during a five-month deployment. Commodore of the deployment, Captain Frank Ponds, will provide information for those who wish to follow the Navy Ship's progress.
Fifteen teenaged Summer Campers and staff from the "At Last" Summer Camp in Port Washington, New York, helped Hugs bag, tag, and sort teddies during the months of July and August. The program's goal is to provide youngsters with an opportunity to give community service in the greater Metropolitan area and we were delighted that they chose Hugs. The teenagers had a wonderful time and were very productive in their efforts. Bears were readied for hospitals, Family Court, deploying soldiers and the USS Kearsage Naval Hospital Ship. Our thanks to Jackie Liu, a Hugs Assistant, who supervisied and assisted the campers.
The tornado that ripped through the Little Sioux Scout Ranch showed the boys and their leaders, who have spent their young lives learning about the outdoors, just how fierce Mother Nature can be. Earlier in the week, the scouts drilled on what to do before, during and after a tornado. So Wednesday night, when the clouds had parted and the chaos had passed, the Scouts took count of each other, just as they had practiced. Many showed their bravery as well as their training. Inspite of their own injuries, scouts lifted bricks and debris from others, created tourniquets to stop bleeding and eased their fellows pain until rescuers could arrive.
Forty-eight children and adults were taken to the Burggess Hospital Emergency Room in nearby Onawa, Iowa, for triage...as they, too, had recently practiced. Several of the youngsters remained in the hospital. Hugs bears are there as well ... 50 teddies will be huggable companions to the scouts as they recount their trauma and grieve their loss. Four Scouts died: Aaron Eilerts, 14, of Eagle Grove, Iowa, and Josh Fennen, 13, Sam Thomsen, 13, and Ben Petrzilka, 14, all of Omaha, Neb. Our prayers are with them all.
Hugs joins the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in bringing comfort to children hospitalized with the effects of Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease that affects approximately 1 in 2,500 babies born in the United States. Currently, there are about 30,000 people in the United States affected by CF. This disorder is characterized by an increased secretion of sticky mucus, which can affect the function of the lungs, pancreas and other organs of the body. It can range from a very difficult time to a life threatening circumstance for the child...and a constant challenge to the family. Hugs Across America is responding to the request for teddies to help bring comfort to the children in 50 different hospital CF units throughout the United States.
ABOARD USS BOXER (LHD 4), San Diego - USS Boxer (LHD 4) USS Boxer (LHD 4) along with various embarked units and non-governmental organizations (NGO) departed Naval Base San Diego April 28 in route to Latin America nations for the Pacific Phase of Continuing Promise (CP) 2008. CP is an equal partnership mission designed to combine partner nation and U.S. relief capabilities to demonstrate the lasting bonds and shared interests among neighbors. Specific locations for the ship’s relief operations include Guatemala, El Salvador and Peru. The deployment is scheduled to last through June.
The Humanitarian Civic Assistance (HCA) mission provides partner nations in the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of focus a mobile, flexible and rapidly responsive medical and engineering capability for a number of missions and training opportunities in Central and South America. This is Boxer’s first deployment since returning from the Western Pacific in May of 2007.The Pacific Phase of CP is one of two HCA deployments planned for the USSOUTHCOM area of focus for 2008. The second CP deployment will be conducted by USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) in the Caribbean. The deployments are modeled in part on last year’s USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) deployment to the region that delivered substantial medical and dental support to a large number of people in remote locations. They carry the capabilities of a well-trained medical staff of more than 30 doctors, nurses and corpsmen. Boxer is well suited for providing an array of medical aid...as well as bring comfort to the frightened or hurting children brought aboard through the "hugs" of over 250 teddy bears from Hugs Across America.