First National Bank & Trust’s Project Teddy Bear Donates to Local Emergency & Crisis Services

Front Row, left to right: Tanya DalSanto, First National Bank & Trust; Heather Strauss, Caring House; Cindy Schoeppey, Beacon Ambulance Service; Abby Miller, Aspirus Iron River Hospital; Geno Basanese, Michigan State Police
Back Row, left to right: Matt Lutz, Russ Kassin, Cole Grenier, Mick Gayan of First National Bank & Trust; Chris Dessart, Beacon Ambulance Service
Not pictured:  Teresa Schettler, Dickinson County Healthcare System

First National Bank and Trust’s Project Teddy Bear initiative was started with the goal of collecting new stuffed toys for donation to local area emergency responders, crisis centers, and medical facilities. Studies show that giving a toy provides comfort, reduces anxiety and offers a distraction to a potentially traumatic experience for a child. When given by a first responder or healthcare worker it can also help build trust.

Project Teddy Bear kicked off December 1st with the 2nd Annual Bring-a-Bear Teddy Bear Toss event at Mountain View Ice Arena during the Kingsford versus Ashland hockey game, where they collected 297 new stuffed toys. After continuing to collect donations throughout December at First National Bank & Trust locations, Project Teddy Bear was able to donate nearly 400 stuffed toys and on Friday, January 18th, area emergency and crisis services representatives met at First National Bank & Trust’s downtown location to receive the donations collected by Project Teddy Bear.

“When an ill or injured child comes through our hospital doors that child’s well-being is our top priority from the minute they arrive until that child is able to go home. The smile on a child’s face when a nurse brings in a Teddy Bear for them is beyond words, not to mention the smiles coming from mom and dad,” said Todd Essendrup, Dickinson County Healthcare System Trauma Coordinator. 

“This small gesture to a child becomes an instant pain reliever. This small gesture takes the scary moment away. Within minutes of handing a child a Teddy Bear, the child already has it named. Yes, we can provide children with medications and perform intervention for them, but it’s that very simple act of kindness from one person to another that is remembered for a very long time.”

“This year, we were able to expand our reach with donations, as well as see an overall increased attendance at the kickoff Teddy Bear Toss event,” said Mick Gayan of First National Bank & Trust.

“We were also pleased to be able to bring co-sponsors aboard this year from 41 Lumber, Results Broadcasting, and Town & Country Sales to help provide additional publicity for the event, as well as fun giveaway items, including the KHS Hockey Rally Teddy Towel, and the Air-the-Bear challenge to win Green Bay Gamblers hockey tickets.  We are looking forward to expanding and growing this as a family-fun community event in 2019 and beyond.”

Project Teddy Bear is part of First National Bank and Trust’s ongoing dedication to supporting and strengthening our community.