First Bears to be Donated to SBN’s Bears in the Air Program

South Bend, IN. The fourth annual Bears in the Air program lands at South Bend International Airport with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, St. Joseph County Airport Authority Board of Directors President Abe Marcus and retiring St. Joseph County Airport Authority Director of Administration and Finance Michael Guljas donating the first three bears to the program on Wednesday, December 2 at 10:00 a.m.  A “Bear Den” inside the terminal has been created to collect newly purchased teddy bears from December 4 through December 21, 2015. The bears will be given to children at local area hospitals to offer companionship and smiles during a difficult time.

Travelers along with the general public are invited to donate a newly purchased teddy bear. Teddy bears will also be available for purchase in the airport’s gift shop.

Bears in the Air officially kicks-off with a reception on Friday, December 4 at 6:00 p.m. Entry into the event is one newly purchased teddy bear or a $10 donation per person. The money collected will be donated directly to the Robert L. Miller Sr. Veteran’s Center and a teddy bear will be delivered to a child in area hospitals.

“In the past three years, the program has provided nearly 2300 teddy bears to children in area hospitals and $16,000 to the Veteran’s Center in downtown South Bend,” said Mike Daigle, SBN Executive Director. “It is because of the support of our generous community that the program has grown to what it is. We look forward to an even larger donation this year.”

Michael Guljas was chosen as the honorary Airport Authority employee to place one of the first bears in the den because of his commitment to advancing the mission of the Authority during the past 32 years. His retirement is effective at the end of December.

About the South Bend International Airport

South Bend International Airport’s three air carriers provide nonstop flights to ten cities:  Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New York City/Newark, Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa, and Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg with connections world-wide. South Bend International’s multi-modal terminal serves over one million air, rail and bus passengers each year. According to the 2012 Economic Impact Report from the Aviation Authority of Indiana, South Bend International’s total annual economic impact on South Bend and surrounding communities was in excess of $1.7 billion.

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