BATESVILLE, AR -- One Region 8 community is giving soldiers families something to hold onto while the soldiers are overseas.
The 39th Infantry Brigade leaves out in January for Iraq and 130 of those soldiers are part of Company "B" in Batesville.
"There are 130 solders heading to Iraq after the first of the year and we wanted to do something special for them that they could leave for the families they're leaving behind," said Citizens Bank Director of Public Relations Janelle Shell.
Janelle Shell with Citizens Bank said Project Build-a-Bear is something the whole community is supporting.
"It really means a lot to the soldiers and I know it means a lot to everyone just to be able to come out and see the support that we get," said 39th Infantry Brigade soldier Joshua Edgington.
"When they're across over in Iraq and their families miss them, they can hear a message from the soldiers that are over fighting for our country," said Shell.
"I think the message and the bear was a great idea, that way they hear my voice and any time they want," said 39th Infantry Brigade soldier Shaun Lundy.
"It's really good for the younger kids to hear their dad's voice before they go to bed," said Cindy Long.
For many of these soldiers this is not their first deployment, so having that small connection for the kids can make a world of difference.
"It's really cool. My stepdad made it for me so I would not miss him when he's there," said Ty Swain.
"I know from the past there's not a whole lot of phone calls and just to hear that voice that means a lot," said Long.
This program had multiple sponsors, in addition to Citizens Bank who started this program.
Other sponsors include:
Calvary Baptist Church
Corinth Missionary Baptist Church
Cushman Assembly of God
Faith Hopewell Cumberland Presbyterian Church
First Baptist Church
North Heights Church of Christ
Pilgrims Rest Baptist Church
West Baptist Church
NuWay Cleaners and Laundry
Rid A Pest, Inc.
Bobby and Connie Davis
Steve and Linda McDaniel
Larry and Betty Mobley
Cassandra Skelton and Martha Sue Smith
Bobby and Sheila Smithee