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AFMAC’s “Trooper” Wins Christmas Bear Contest

posted Apr 18, 2012, 1:51 PM by Andrew Hagopian
The first place winner of the Matthews Chamber of Commerce’s “A Very Beary Christmas” contest is “Trooper the Bear,” the entry from The Armed Forces Museum & Archives of the Carolinas (AFMAC). The contest asked local businesses and non-profit organizations to dress up a bear to represent their business, with prizes being awarded based on votes by the community.


The Chamber displayed donated bears through Dec. 15 and plans to donate them for distribution to local children through Matthews HELP Center and Christ Our Shepherd Ministries. AFMAC, a world class museum to be built in Mint Hill, is scheduled to break ground in 2014, to honor all five branches of the United States military:  Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. When completed, AFMAC visitors will experience an educational showcase of 250 years of military history combined with the home front support and sacrifices that have made our nation great.


“Trooper the Bear” was created to remind the community of the many men and women in uniform that are not home for Christmas. Kathleen Wilsbach, AFMAC board member and secretary who dressed the bear, said, “When I saw all the other bears, some three feet tall, I thought Trooper would never win at 15 inches tall.  But Trooper was small but mighty in his message.  It sort of parallels with our US military, which comprises only one percent of our population.  That small number sacrifices for our freedoms.”