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Olympic hero visits Honor Guard
Bailey Reese holds her Olympic torch and Hero the bear as she speaks with members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, D.C., Oct. 24. Bailey is the president and founder of Hero Hugs, a non-profit organization that sends care packages to service members overseas. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith)
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Olympic hero visits Honor Guard campus

Posted 11/15/2012   Updated 11/15/2012 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith
11th Wing Public Affairs

11/15/2012 - JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C -- The members of the United States Air Force Honor Guard welocmed a special guest to their campus here Oct. 24.

Sixteen year old Bailey Reese, who was one of less than 30 Americans selected to carry the Olympic Torch to represent her country at the 2012 Games in London, brought her torch with her to show the honor guard members.

"It's because of them I was able to go and represent our country in the Olympic Games," Bailey said. "I wanted to share the experience with them as a way to say thank you."

Bailey was nominated by Coca-Cola to carry the torch because of the work she has done through her non-profit organisation Hero Hugs, which she started when she was seven years old.

Hero Hugs takes donations from around the U.S. and sends care packages to service members overseas.

"I've been doing this for nine years now, and we've raised almost a million dollars and sent out more than 80 thousand care packages out through Hero Hugs."

Bailey has put in more than 8,000 hours of community service to date, and was awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award four years ago.

After watching demonstrations by the Drill Team, Firing Party, and the Colors Team, Bailey passed the torch around for the members to see.

Another esteemed visitor, and part of Bailey's entorage, was Hero, the stuffed bear. Hero has spent many years overseas as part of the Hero Hugs morale-boosting program.

Sporting many pins, patches and memorabilia from the untis he's served with, Hero recieved another decoration: a round pin form the honor guard called a "cookie."

"Bailey was so proud to run that torch for her country, and we are both very excited to be able to share it with the members of the honor guard," said Diana Lampe, Bailey's mother.

To learn more about Hero Hugs, visit their website at http://herohugs.org, or "like" their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/herohugs.

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