Airman Spotlight: SrA Treadaway and the Teddy Bear Drop

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ned T. Johnston
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
In the small town of Morris, Alabama, Tyler grew up with a sense of service - It was hard for him not to. With a long lineage of family members who had served in the military or in public office, Tyler's character was molded by their selflessness.

Growing up, he would spend his free time volunteering with children who had mental and physical disabilities; teaching them how to play one of his favorite childhood sports, baseball.

"Being able to give a child an experience that brightened their day really pulled on the heart strings," said Tyler. "There wasn't a feeling like it in the world when you saw someone truly appreciate what you were doing for them; I didn't want it to ever end."

Now, years later that same give-back kid inspires his community, but under a different title - Senior Airman Tyler Treadaway, Air Force metals technology specialist. He still continues to look to the community to help others the way that he had done back in Morris, and, this holiday season, he found just the right way to do it.

"It's called the Teddy Bear Drop, and it's happening at the All Children's Hospital in St. Pete. this Christmas," explained Tyler. "The goal is to spread a little holiday cheer by spending some time with every child in the hospital and giving them an Air Force teddy bear."

The All Children's Hospital provides pediatric care for infants, children, and teens with challenging medical problems.

"These children don't have the privilege of being healthy; instead they are dealing with some pretty scary medical conditions," said Tyler. "They're not going to be out riding bikes or playing baseball with their friends this Christmas, so we're going to try to make their time at the hospital a better experience."

He and one other Airmen are currently fundraising to save up enough money to purchase the teddy bears for the event. When asked to explain what it's like to be a part of an event like this, Tyler reflected upon his first experiences giving out teddy bears at last year's drop.

"We walked into a room in our uniform, teddy bear in hand, and you could just see the transformation in this kid. He went from this pale, sad look to exactly what you'd expect a young child to look like. His face lit up with color and emotion, and handing over that teddy bear to him brought a tear to my eye. I knew right then that this was going to be something magical - and it was. Every room was like that, and we went through the entire hospital handing out teddy bears.

If it's as easy as spending some of my time fundraising that allows me to show up and spend a few minutes handing out teddy bears, it's a no-brainer to me, and I'll be doing it every year that I'm here at MacDill," said Tyler. "Sometimes all it takes is just a little bit of your time to make a world of difference to someone else."