Bellevue Mom Heeds Oprah’s Call to Action
Comfort Teddy Bears for Grieving Families

BELLEVUE, WA,- When Oprah gathered Tom Brokaw and First Lady Michelle Obama on her final season show, January 27, 2011, the message was equally powerful, “How can we ‘re-enlist as citizens’ and support our military families?” Bellevue resident Kim Foster considered her skill set and what she might be able to offer to military families. “I thought I could cook some meals or tutor children but I didn’t know of any neighborhood military families to help. And then, I remembered a family down the street that lost their son in Afghanistan and I had an idea.”

Her idea was borne from her own experience losing her father unexpectedly in 1999. “After my dad died, my mom had teddy bears made for my sister and me using one of dad’s favorite shirts. It brought me great comfort then, and still does.” Foster decided to offer up such a comfort bear to the Enatai family and reached out to them. “The Whites were so welcoming and loved the idea of the bear to remember their son, Joseph.” Joseph V. White SPC, lost his life on Sept. 24, 2009. Their pain is still raw. “I went ahead and made a bear using an Army fatigue, the collar being the original off the shirt and all the original buttons were used as well. A replica dog tag hangs around the bear’s neck with the inscription, “I Was Once Worn By Someone Dear, Through Loving Memories Will Always Be Here”.

In the Season Finale show, Michelle Obama expressed that she was “in awe of the strength and sacrifice of military families” and that this campaign was about action, not just ‘kind words’. Foster recognized that her own discomfort needed to be put aside when reaching out to these proud strangers. And, in the grace and courage of military families that serve our country, the White’s made her feel comfortable and welcome in her endeavor. Foster hopes to launch her own non-profit campaign so more families can have their own My Hero Bear to remember their loved ones.

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Foster admits, “My dad was in the Army, in fact, he was in Vietnam when I was born. Yet, I’ve never felt very connected to our military families and their sacrifices. When Oprah’s show reminded me that 1% of our citizens are fighting for 99% of us, I was overcome. My father sacrificed and yet, I’ve had my head in the sand during the course of this extended war. I appreciated the wake up call. Let’s see how I can continue to help.” Visit

"[This is] not about kind words—this campaign is going to be about action," Mrs. Obama says. "You don't have to live near a base, you don't have to be a military expert, you don't have to know a family. There is so much you can do to support people just by doing what you do."