Rough Riders kick off “John Winter Teddy Bear Roundup”

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Rough Riders are kicking off the “John Winter Teddy Bear Roundup” once again.

Winter was a meteorologist for WFLA News Channel 8 and a member of the Rough Riders who often spoke of taking Teddy Bears to children in hospitals during his morning weather forecast.

Viewers began donating Teddy Bears and it turned into an annual tradition.bear2

The Rough Riders now collect thousands of Teddy Bears each year and take the toys to children in hospitals, senior citizens, cancer patients and patients and even wounded warriors at the VA hospital.

“We have a tremendous amount of committees that collect these bears and a lot of hours that go into it to get all of this taken care of. It’s an amazing thing that happens,” said Tony Bimonte, Teddy Bear Committee Chairperson for the Rough Riders.

Each year the group collects bears for “Kindness Day” (December 9) at WFLA News Channel 8 and picks up bears dropped off at Regions Bank locations and Tampa Bay area Allstate insurance offices.

The Rough Riders then distribute the bears all year round at numerous locations.

“We cover pretty much every hospital in the Tampa Bay area. We’ll go over to St. Pete, we’ll go down to Bradenton. Any hospital that invites us in, we’ll go give them a bear,” said Bimonte.

For all updates on “Kindness Day” stories and how to get involved click here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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