During the Telephone Pioneers General Assembly in 1991 -1992 a new project was introduced to all Chapters of Ma Bell and president Dick Winter brought the project back to the Cornhusker Chapter from the General Assembly. The new project was called Hug-A-Bear. A committee was formed and Dick’s wife became the first chairperson of the group.
In 1996 the Cornhusker Chapter became the Heartland Council and Steve Dawkins and his wife took over the Hug-A-Bears committee around 1999. From that time forward the group has made over 47,250 Bears. Over the years there have been many volunteers working on this project. As time goes on and volunteers come and go it has been reported that today the volunteers are Darla, Jerry, Joe, Ron, Joan, Steve, Steve, Ray, Virginia, Gayla, Kathy, Velma, Pat, Ann, Karen, Marcia, plus a few retirees at Maple Ridge Resort Living Community.
The Hug-A-Bear group assembled the bears for a long time in the lower level of the 20 bldg. LL at the Omaha Works. After the spinoff to Avaya and their sale of the business to CommScope the Pioneers were asked to move the assembly of the bears out of the building. They looked around and through a contact they connected with the Maple Ridge Retirement Center. The Center gave the Bears a permanent new home.
We have been thankful to Maple Ridge Retirement Center who gave the group a work room in the lower level to make and assemble the bears. If you find a HUG A BEAR in the caring hands of a child and wish to know more about the volunteers, who make these handcrafted and embroidered ”Made with Love – Omaha Works Volunteers” Please contact Steve Dawkins. Volunteers are always welcome to help in the creation process.
The Bear construction group gathers every “Tuesday” morning from 9 a.m. till 1:00 pm at Omaha, NE, Maple Ridge Resort Living Community 168th & Maple Street – lower level. There is always laughter, conversation, and maybe a few homemade munchies on Tuesday mornings. If you would like to help get in touch with Steve Dawkins Hug A Bear committee chairman, cell phone: 402-319-3602 for information about the Hug A Bears activities!