|Sonja, a newly trained ERV driver wrote
the explanation for this picture.
"ERVing the bear
is an idea that I borrowed from my son.
Sgt. David Alan Ruhren was in Iraq with the 276th
Engineer Battalion. While there he had a GI Joe that I
sent to him on his 20th birthday. He took this GI
Joe with him on all his missions. GI Joe would sit
in the humvee on all of the unit's missions. I lost my
son in the Mosul Mess Hall bombing on Dec 21, 2004.
My son's unit still had one more mission to go on, so the
soldiers went back to my son's room & took GI Joe out
with them on their final mission. When they came back to
the States, they personally brought GI Joe to my house.
We as ERV drivers also go out on missions; maybe not as
dangerous as our soldiers but there are times that we see
things that you will remember for the rest of your life.
I found this bear in a box of toys in Hattiesburg,
Mississippi. He needed a home so I thought this bear
could help us as well. When we are out on missions &
we see something or someone that brings a tear to our
eyes, we can look back at ERVing with his furry little
ears & big brown eyes & for a moment, he can put
a smile on our faces & help us to remember that, what
we are doing is one of the most unselfish things that we
as American Citizens can do for one another. The act of
giving, our time, our comfort and our
compassion will help the people of this wonderful
area recover from the devastation of hurricane Katrina.
ERVing the Bear will go on a mission everyday with a new
ERV crew. The crew will write in his journal the days
events, so that someday, if we see him again, his journal
will tell where he has been and what he has seen. After
each mission, he will go home with the last ERV driver.
Next mission, bring him back, he'll go out again &
again and be passed on from one ERV driver to another
every day. Last time I saw ERVing, he was in Gulfport,
Mississippi. He has a backpack on him with a pen and his
journal in it. He now has a Red Cross patch & some
New Orleans beads. He also carries a dog tag that I had
blessed by a Catholic Priest that I met in Gulfport. That
dog tag has the face of my son on it, so now my son is
with ERVing as well. So when you are on your missions,
keep an eye out for ERVing. When you do see him,
"tell him his Mom loves him"".
Sonja - - - you can get a message to Sonja by emailing me