A military bear toy traveled a long distance to reunite with its owner.


A special bear traveled many miles, from Pennsylvania to New York and finally to Florida. This heartwarming story shows how social media played a role in reuniting a baby with her beloved bear.

HERSHEY, Pa. — Just like many children, 3-month-old Violet Boyer has formed a strong bond with her teddy bear.

“We always take the bear with us and say, ‘Let’s bring the bear along’ whenever we go somewhere special,” shared Natalie Balmer, Violet’s mother.

But what makes Violet’s stuffed animal even more special than the average child’s is who it represents.

“Let’s go get dad,” said Balmer. “Let’s bring him along.”

“Violet’s dad was deployed to Korea just a week before I discovered I was pregnant,” Balmer explained. “He was able to be present for her birth for three weeks, but then he had to return. We’re uncertain about when he will be able to come home.”

During her maternity leave, Balmer brought little Violet up to Pennsylvania. Balmer, originally from Hershey, now resides in Pensacola, Florida, and the military bear accompanied them on the trip.

However, they soon realized that the military bear was missing.

“We had placed him in her car seat, and it seems like he must have fallen out while we were walking inside, but I didn’t notice until we finished breakfast,” Balmer explained. “We searched everywhere, asking nearby businesses and doing our best to locate him.”

Violet’s grandmother wrote a Facebook post, which quickly spread and was shared by thousands of people, asking if anyone had seen the precious bear.

Credit: Kevin Lowe

A few days later, she received a message from a family in New York who had found the bear.

“They mentioned in their message that they could sense its significance,” Balmer recounted. “Therefore, they wanted to retrieve it to ensure nothing happened to it.”

The Lowe family, who were visiting Hershey from Hornell, N.Y., had been on vacation with their son Nivek.

“I wasn’t aware that he had picked up a stuffed animal until we returned to the car,” said Kevin Lowe, the father. “It was a handmade bear, and I know that if I had made something and lost it, I would definitely want it to be returned.”

Nivek took care of the bear until the families were connected through Facebook.

Lowe then shipped Violet’s bear all the way to Pensacola, Florida.

“I cried when I found out it was found,” Balmer said emotionally. “When Violet got her bear back, I could see how thrilled she was. We are extremely grateful that he was kept safe.”

As evident from the joy on Violet’s face, she was extremely happy to be reunited with her beloved bear.

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