People are always looking for something to do and here is a fun activity to keep in mind for the whole family. New Bern is celebrating their 300th Birthday this year and will have a lot of fun stuff all year. One is the Bear Town Bears project. The project involves placing 50 life-size fiberglass bears painted by local artists at locations throughout New Bern. Check out www.beartownbears.org for locations and pictures of all of the bears. A fun activity would be to take the kids to New Bern, get a map of the Bear Trail, and see as many bears as possible. I am sure each member of the family will have a different favorite bear. Also check out www.newbern300.com for a current list of New Bern 300th Birthday activities.
I serve on the Board of the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport and was at the recent unveiling of the Marine Bear. The Marine Bear is located in the boarding/arrival area of the airport and is sure to be a frequently photographed bear. The first photograph as it was being installed was by a lady that wanted a picture because the bear outranked her son.
The unveiling was attended by 200 people or so. Many were members of the local artist community, many former military of all branches, and a lot of citizens interested in community activities. The Marine Bear was painted by Vicki Vitale, Co-Chair of the Bear Town Bears Project. There is no telling how many hours Vicki put into this project because the detail is perfect. The color match to Marine Corps colors is exact and the detail on insignia, medals and ribbons is life like. It is a project of which Vicki is very proud and deservedly so.
The accompanying picture is of Vicki Vitale artist; Lt. Col. Al Solter Community Liaison Officer; Semper Fi, Marine Bear; Gen Tom Braaten (Retired) Airport Executive Director and myself. Lt. Col. Solter is my contact at Cherry Point for issues of mutual concern, mainly involving flying activity at Bogue Field. There are times when the flying might seem excessive, but I can assure you that all of it is necessary to make sure our Marine pilots are properly trained for upcoming deployments. The Marine Corps pilots have families like the rest of us and they would prefer not to be flying late at night or on weekends, but there are times when one or the other is needed because of training requirements (night flying) or scheduling difficulties (weekends).
I thank all of the active duty and former military and their families for their service to enable us to enjoy the freedoms that we have. Job well done.