Fergie Bear Needs Hugs in Tulsa
During the holiday season, many of us take time to give help and hope to those less fortunate. For Clint Walden, coordinator and creator of Fergie Bear, bringing joy to others lasts all year.
Walden came up with the idea of the big, friendly bear with input from Jerry Ferguson, CEO of Ferguson Superstore. “We wanted to create a child-friendly Teddy Bear to give back to the community throughout Northeastern Oklahoma,” Walden explained.
Over the past 20 years, Fergie Bear has been delighting children with warm hugs, high-fives and a happy presence. Fergie Bear attends festivals, goes to hospitals, battered women’s shelters and charity events. His most recent appearances included Dayspring Villa, the Tulsa County Emergency Shelter, the Children’s Hospital at St. Francis and the United Way Pumpkin Smash. Fergie has also been the official Red Ribbon Bear for the State of Oklahoma, encouraging children to be drug-free.
Walden loves the reaction that the children have to Fergie Bear and has many fond memories of his years of bringing cheer to others. “Many years ago, Fergie Bear was entertaining at a party for Make-a-Wish,” he said. “The glow in the children’s eyes when they saw Fergie and the smiles on their faces made any problem I could have seem like nothing. Here were these sick children all happy and joyful with not one ounce of negativity.”
Most recently at the Children’s Hospital at St. Francis, Walden said a 16-year-old patient came up to him and said, “I need a hug and comfort.”
One of the most memorable stories that Walden related involved teaming up with Carole Lambert, former Tulsa KTUL Channel 8 News anchor and the Broken Arrow Lion’s Club. The group was delivering gifts to a woman who had cerebral palsy and was in a wheelchair. Her husband had recently died and she and her children were left with huge medical and utility bills. “Their water and lights were off,” Walden said. “The house was bare of furniture. Everyone in the group was crying, including Fergie. Within a week, she had new furniture, her bills were paid up…I will never forget the look of joy and gratitude and thanks on her face as she hugged Fergie Bear and thanked him.”
Walden said that Fergie will go wherever there are events involving children who might benefit from the appearance of a cheerful bear. One of Fergie Bear’s longest-running programs is the Angel Bear Christmas Campaign, which has been supporting youth for 23 years. “It is a unique project of corporations, youth groups, civic clubs and individuals who want to brighten Christmas for the truly needy,” Walden said. “Angel Bear grew out of Fergie Bear’s work helping youth. The Care Bear program at Union and the Angelic Program in Okmulgee are off-shoots of Angel Bear.”
Businesses, nonprofits, groups and individuals may contribute to the Angel Bear Christmas Campaign by dropping off new toys or a gift cards at the Ferguson Superstore located at 1501 N. Elm Place in Broken Arrow, 888.735.9621.
“I believe from the bottom of my heart and soul that Fergie Bear is divinely inspired,” Walden said. “We live in such an impersonal world. Everyone needs a Teddy Bear hug.”
For more information on Fergie Bear or to schedule an appearance, go to Facebook.com/fergiebeartulsa.