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Hugs For Heroes: The Story of Bailey Reese

Hugs For Heroes: The Story of Bailey Reese
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.5

     challenging words:    appreciation, equally, overseas, organization, hurricane, elementary, hometown, doing, duty, several, service, military, heat, serving, package, instead
     content words:    Hurricane Ivan, Little Bailey Reese, Young Bailey, Hero Hugs, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Iraqi Freedom, Huggable Heroes, President George W., American Girl Real Girl Award, Veterans Day

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Hugs For Heroes: The Story of Bailey Reese
By Joyce Furstenau

1     Hurricane Ivan hit Bailey Reese's hometown of Niceville, Florida, in 2004. There was no water or electricity for a time. Little Bailey Reese went with her mother to get water. Several military servicemen were there to hand out water and ice. She was seven years old. Instead of thanking the servicemen, Bailey heard several people complaining about the heat and the wait. Young Bailey told her mother she didn't think people should be complaining. She said people should be thanking the soldiers instead.
2     Later on, Bailey asked her mother if she could send some gifts to the service men and women serving in Iraq. She invited some of her young neighbors and friends to come over and write thank you notes to the troops. Each week they sent small tokens of appreciation to Iraq. They put together boxes filled with small gifts and sweets to show their appreciation. Bailey and her friends shipped about fifty boxes overseas over the next six months.
3     Her project began to grow when her local elementary school wanted to join in. She called her project "Hero Hugs." Bailey also decided the troops needed a mascot. She went to the Build-a-Bear Workshop and built a mascot she named Hero. The bear was dressed in fatigues. She sent Hero to Iraq. Hero was photographed in several places with many different soldiers and officers. When his "tour of duty" was finished, Hero was sent back to Bailey wearing an Iraqi Freedom medal. Hero also wore an ankle bracelet made by an Iraqi woman. Bailey put together a book about his adventures using his picture album. She titled it The Adventures of Hero. She hopes to publish it soon.

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