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Photo gallery: Comfort bears given to help children of troops

Published: Sunday, Jan. 19 2014 10:45 a.m. MST

Audrey Tani hugs her new teddy bear in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. Operation Teddy Bear was created by VFW Post 4918 to provide comfort bears to children of deployed Utah soldiers to help them with separation anxiety.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Operation Teddy Bear was created by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4918 in an effort to provide "comfort" bears to children of deployed Utah soldiers.

The bears are created at Build-A-Bear Workshop with a voice box containing a recorded message from the child's deployed parent. The bears are also outfitted in the uniform worn by the child's parent.

The goal is that the stuffed animal will help the children cope with separation anxiety.

The bears handed out Saturday were given to the children of three Utah National Guard units stationed in Afghanistan and the Balkans. The group said it has provided more than 1,000 comfort bears to the children of deployed soldiers.

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