It's a heartwarming story whose latest chapter emerged from the bleakest of times.
Following his appointment as North Tamworth's new president, Peter Artis has recalled how his involvement with the Bears stems from their embrace of his disabled son, David.
And the retired financial services worker also revealed that he will continue the legacy of the Bears' late president, Jody Cooper, by doing what he did: run the footy operations and let the coaching staff run the sides.
Artis was the Bears' vice-president under Cooper, who passed away suddenly this year.
His association with the club dates back the '80s, when his younger brother Michael played first grade for Norths.
But it was not until last decade, when Norths coach Brad McManus arranged for Artis's disabled son David to run water for the Bears' top-grade side, that his connection with the club became deep-rooted.
He said it was an "honour" to be in charge of one of the region's most high profile and successful clubs, whom he wanted to help after they did so much for his son.
When the Bears took David "under their wing", Artis said, they showed themselves to be "a big family".
"They all operate together and everything's cohesive," he said, adding: "It's one of the most cohesive clubs I've been involved in, and I've been involved in a few clubs over a lot of years." (Artis was treasurer of Oxley Bowling Club when it sponsored the Bears.)
He said the Bears' impact on his 35-year-old son was "huge".
"They treat him as one of the boys ... he sees the boys down at the club and they look after him," Artis said, adding that David's involvement in the side made him "feel part of a social group".
When Group 4 resumes next season, after the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID-19, the Bears will be chasing a seventh-straight premiership. Artis said the club would "most definitely" remain a force in the coming years.
McManus, Bears president prior to Cooper's reign, said Artis would "do a good job" but had "big shoes to fill".
"Jody was good for the club: he had his finger on the pulse," McManus said. "If ever anything needed doing, he was there to do it ... He'll be sorely missed."