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DPS News Release – AHPA Annual Christmas Bear Program 12/14/2009

Monday, December 14, 2009 -

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The following news release information is being provided as a courtesy by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) on behalf of the Arizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA). DPS wants to assist the AHPA to promote an excellent community benefit and service, known as the Annual Christmas Bear Program. AHPA, through the dedication of its members, are able to provide the teddy bear gift program to various medical centers across the state. The AHPA is comprised predominately of DPS employees.

AHPA was established in 1958 as a labor organization and continues to assist employees in the form of health, life and cancer insurance. AHPA’s main function is to provide financial assistance to families of officers killed in the line of duty. In addition, AHPA is in the 16th year of bringing Christmas joy to children receiving treatment in various medical centers across the state, since 1993. The program was later expanded to provide the stuffed teddy bears to both children and adults at their bedside. The success is attributed to the efforts and talents of volunteers giving countless hours of their time to make the Christmas Bear Program an overwhelming success.

The mission of the program is to carry out an activity that demonstrates children are the association’s most important responsibility. The tremendous joy that is brought to the hospital patients with the bears is only a part of the benefit that results from the program. Additionally, AHPA establishes a communication mechanism to have children better understand that police officers are helpers and protectors. Witnessing the faces of those receiving the teddy bears is all that one needs to know the program is making a positive difference in many lives.

AHPA President Jimmy Chavez has dedicated the 2009 program to DPS Officer Kenneth Henscheid, who was seriously injured on duty as the result of a vehicle collision and like many of the bear program recipients, is struggling through recovery. The DPS News Release on the collision involving Officer Henscheid can be viewed at:

In 2008, AHPA’s volunteers distributed over 1,700 bears to over 30 hospitals. The 2009 program will give away over 2,000 bears to patients in over 30 statewide medical centers, domestic violence shelters, hospice and a head-start program on the Hopi Tribal Reservation.

AHPA President Jimmy Chavez and other association representatives will be available to provide further information regarding the 2009 Christmas Bear Program and the dates for the remaining medical center visits. For further information about the Arizona Highway Patrol Association, I have provided an Internet link to their Web site:

Medical Centers (Confirmed Dates):

December 14, 2009

Banner Thunderbird - - Arrowhead - - John C. Lincoln North

December 21, 2009

University Medical - - Tucson Medical

December 22, 2009

Phoenix Children’s - - Maricopa County Medical - - St. Joseph’s Medical

Medical Centers (No dates confirmed at this time):

Whiteriver Public Health - - IHS Hospitals - - Sage Memorial

Verde Valley Medical Center - - Sedona Medical - - Pinetop Safe House

Payson Medical - - Payson Hospice - - Summit Healthcare

Kingman Regional Medical - - Western Regional Medical - - Lake Havasu Regional

Flagstaff Medical - - Yuma Medical - - Cardon Children’s

Chandler Regional - - Mesa Lutheran - - Scottsdale Memorial

Gilbert Regional - - Desert Samaritan

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.