DPS News Release – AHPA Annual Christmas Bear Program 12/14/2009
Monday, December 14, 2009 -
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 - -
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
Payson Medical - - Payson Hospice - -
Kingman Regional Medical - - Western Regional Medical - -
Flagstaff Medical - - Yuma Medical - - Cardon Children’s
Gilbert Regional - - Desert Samaritan