As we prepare to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, service and sacrifice, Veterans’ Day serves as a stark reminder that America’s sons and daughters are still in harm’s way half a world away and their sons and daughters are waiting and wishing for their parent to come home safely. View our Press Release here.
We Heart the Troops Memorial Day Celebration & Benefit in tribute to the thousands of service members who have served. This event will take place on May 13th starting at 8pm at the Newport Beachside Resort in Miami.
We appreciate the We Heart the Troops foundation for choosing Operation Hug-A-Hero as one of their beneficiaries to this event. To register for this event in advance, please go to EventBrite.
“It’s not easy hearing the challenges that other military families are facing. I’ve talked to families struggling with the loss of their loved one, children having a hard time sleeping while daddy or mommy is deployed, kids staring out of the window each night waiting for daddy and not understanding why he doesn’t come home from work, and so many other heart-wrenching stories.”
Operation Hug-A-Hero’s Executive Director, Lisa Berg was recently asked to write an article for publication in the Christian Military Fellowship November Newsletter. Lisa does a great job discussing the difficulties that parents of deployed service members often encounter and how her own power of prayer gets her through the difficult moments and which led her to a rewarding association with Operation Hug-A-Hero. Here is Lisa’s introduction and a few snippets from the article. To read the entire Newsletter please click on the link above to the Christian Military Fellowship website (CMF).
Greetings Operation Hug-A-Hero supporters! I was asked by Christian Military Fellowship to write an article for their newsletter about my personal journey as a Christian and why I chose Operation Hug-A-Hero as a non-profit organization to be involved with. I thought you might be interested in reading it. After doing so, I also encourage you to add your comments and thoughts on this Blog post. Thanks!
“Many military parents worry that their kids won’t remember them when they get back from a deployment (which is often 6 to 12 months or longer). Seeing photos of their kids interacting with their Hug-A-Hero doll and including them in family events such as Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas, and so on, shows these parents that they are not forgotten.”
Spring is on the way and OPERATION Hug-A-Hero is starting to plan for events in April celebrating Month of the Military Child. This year Operation Hug-A-Hero will be working with Gulf Coast Harley Davidson of Tampa Bay/New Port Richey, FL, to help Sponsor a unique fund raising event RIDE.
This will be a great event to support our Military Children and Operation Hug-A-Hero. If you own a motorcycle (does not have to be a Harley), come on out and show your support during April - Month of the Military Child! On Sunday, April 11th, cruise on out to Gulf Coast Harley Davidson to join all in support of this great cause! Registration at 10am (early registration on our website or by walking in to GCHD). Just an hour run and come back to enjoy free giveaways, Live Music, Plenty of Vendors, Food and more. A special appearance by a gentleman who lost his son in the war and has turned his son’s bike into a Military Bike in Memory of him. Most importantly, you are supporting our Little Heroes left behind who are proudly waiting for their own Hero to return.
TWO ways to register for this event :
Select our On Line Registration Process, and pay by Credit Card or via PayPal
Or you can Down Load a Registration Form (below) and mail a check to OHAH:
GREAT sponsorship opportunities! Become our MAIN sponsor and your company gets to lead this ride, all the media coverage surrounds YOUR name! Several levels of sponsorship available. T-shirt space, Vendor Booths, Banner space, Donate Raffle Prizes with your name on it, etc.!
Download our 2010 SPONSOR Prospectus or Contact Lisa Berg for more information!
Our Military Families need our help more than ever, and now you have a chance to help them by helping OPERATION-Hug-A-Hero, and its’ as simple as a vote.
We are listed as (Support our men in service with: Operation Hug-A-Hero)
CauseWorld is an iPhone and Android phone application that allows users to earn free donations for their favorite non-profits just by walking into any store.
CauseWorld app users earn “karma points” when they walk into stores and check in with their cell phone. No purchase is required at any store, and karma points can be redeemed nine predefined good causes. Big brands like Kraft Foods and Citi (both are on board) then turn the karmas into real dollar donations to those causes. Food for poor families, water in Sudan, trees in the Amazon, etc. are examples of the causes.
Here’s how it works: You open the application on your phone and see local businesses (instead of showing everything around you, CauseWorld only shows businesses that you can check into for karmas). Enter the store, check in, and get the karma points offered to you. Once you’ve collected enough karmas you can donate them to a variety of causes and you get badges for various activities. And of course we would like you to be able to select Operation-Hug-A-Hero from the list of available causes so you can help us continue our mission while enjoying this neat application,
CauseWorld, “the first mobile application that let’s you do good deeds simply for walking into a store.” The application is currently available on the CauseWorld web site for both the iPhone and Adroid based phones.The iPhone version is also available from the appstore and soon the application will become available for more mobile platforms.
We thank you and our Hug-A-Hero kids will thank you even more.
It’s really a very simple thing to do that can have the net effect of you being able to help our military family’s and their children, if we can get listed on the CauseWorld Application.
15 different organizations have been selected for the public to vote, and the top 3 causes will be invited to join. Voting ends on February 28, 2010 and the winners will be announced shortly afterwards. The voting poll can be accessed on the Cause World blog at http://blog.causeworld.com
15 actions you can do to help us spread the word.
It’s been an interesting two weeks with the news of the earthquake in Haiti and the ensuing calls for support to help their country in their hour of need. The support has been nothing short of phenomenal from all the stories I have read and all the donations pouring in from all across the world and in our own country here in the United States, there are literally thousands if unique Fundraising events to help the impoverished nation and ailing peoples of Haiti.
Now let’s step back a moment and take a look at this to see what it means to our own country. Our United States mobilized in record time additional military resources, our countries finest Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen were sent on deployment for undetermined lengths of time to help Haiti. For many this is their first time away from home for extended deployments from their families. Right now no one knows how long this operation will continue, but it is sure to be many months. We also still have thousands of our military men and women deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq with more scheduled to depart every day for lengthy deployments away from their husbands, wives and children.
This post is a request, a CALL TO ACTION to ALL whom will read this:
Whether you are a current subscriber to our weekly OPERATION Hug-A-Hero Newsletter, or possibly an RSS Newsreader subscriber, if you’re a Facebook Cause Member or you are reading this from a TWEET on Twitter or just a passerby looking to see what we are all about. Perhaps you came across the Operation Hug-A-Hero blog from somewhere in the Blogosphere?
How you arrived here does not matter. What you do here is of great importance to us and our Military Families. We are not asking for money…or Donations, (although you are more than welcome to contribute to enrich a young child’s life should you so desire to do so….and it is tax deductible too) or as you are shopping online be sure to visit iGive.com. If you buy anything, Operation Hug-A-Hero gets an automatic donation from your purchase.
What we are asking for is an infinitesimal (extremely small) moment of your time to help spread the word about our cause. Haiti is extremely important, but we want to make sure that everyone knows who is helping and that they may in turn need some help of their own. At least the Children whose parents are answering our Nations call to duty. Let’s not forget them!
Here’s what you can do to help:
Please perform one of these small tasks below to help us spread the word about our Mission.
Please HELP US and share our OPERATION Hug-A-Hero site with others:
1. Click on the Share/Save Button Below the article for this post (share or email from here)
2. Forward this post/article in an email to friends, family, neighbors or co-workers
3. Forward your Newsletter to friends, family, neighbors or co-workers
4. Post this article on your Facebook Page
5. Share with your Facebook Friends from the FB Share Button above or the Share/Save Button Below
6. Add our Facebook Cause to your Facebook
7. Tweet this article from the Tweet Button Above or the Share/Save Button Below
8. Follow us on Twitter
9. Retweet this article
10. Make a comment on an article of interest on the site.
11. Subscribe and Watch us on YouTube
12. Sign up for the Operation Hug-A-Hero Newsletter
13. Sign up for our RSS Feed
14. Send our URL (Web site address) to a friends, family, neighbors or co-workers
15. Send an email to
email@example.com and ask them to include Operation Hug-A-Hero in their nonprofit listing.
Our President gets it. In a statement today prior to his State of the Union address on Wednesday, President Obama stated “military families welfare is an important part of U.S. national security”.
After all, this is what OPERATION HUG-A-HERO is all about.
For more information on the Mental Health & Welfare issues that our Deployed families routinely deal with please read the related post below.
An interesting story published on Thursday January 14th, 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled “Deployment and the Use of Mental Health Services among U.S. Army Wives” discovered that the wives of soldiers deployed suffered higher mental health issues.
This was the largest study ever undertaken. The results are very conclusive and indicate “that the mental health effects of current military operations are extending beyond soldiers and into their immediate families.”
The study shows again “that when a service member deploys, the entire family deploys,” said Air Force Maj. April Cunningham, a Pentagon spokeswoman.
The results of this study mirror the findings from the RAND Corp. study of military children that we reported on last month in our Operation Hug-A-Hero SPECIAL REPORT,Children and Military Deployments that discusses Deployment Effects on Children of Military Families. The NEJM story details the fact that Children of deployed parents suffer more emotional issues, particularly if separations are long or the parent at home is troubled.
It’s a fact … kids do worse when Mom does worse. “So if spouses are more likely to need mental health services as deployment times increase, than their kids are more at risk.”
The NEJM story is pretty technical, so if you want an easier read, I would suggest the USA Today summary that you can read by clicking here: Army wives with deployed husbands suffer higher mental health issues.
The NEJM report along with the RAND report signify that children of military parents are adversely impacted emotionally with a parent who is deployed away from home for significant amount of time. This is the main reason that Operation Hug-A-Hero was created. We can and have made huge positive psychological impacts to the children that are recipients of our FREE Hug-A-Hero® dolls.Executive Director Lisa Berg and her family were featured on Tampa Tribunes’s – TBO.com (Tampa Bay Online) . The Story by Geoff Foxx of the Tampa Tribune is an inspirational story that details the history of Daddy Dolls as well as how the Dolls have helped Lisa’s children. Also of great importance is the note regarding the recent troop surge announced by President Obama and how many children of military family’s can be helped by a Donation, so that Operation Hug-A-Hero can supply more Dolls to children whose parents are about to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
With President Obama’s recent announcement that 30,000 troops soon will be sent to Afghanistan, OPERATION Hug-A-Hero is accepting donations so that more Daddy Dolls will find their way to the arms of children who miss their parent. A donation of $25 can get a doll to a child.
Click here to read the entire TBO story entitled Hug-A-Hero dolls provide comfort to children of deployed military.
At Operation Hug-A-Hero® we know firsthand the negative effects deployments can have on children. After all Hug-A-Hero® Dolls were created by two military wives who struggled with a way for their children to be able to connect with their fathers who were deployed Marines. That was the original basis for Daddy Dolls®. The founders Tricia and Nikki, saw the huge psychological payback for their own children by seeing the connection their own children had with the dolls, which bear the image of their fathers. Several years later the nonprofit OPERATION Hug-A-Hero was created.
Up until recently little was known about how children were affected by long absences from parents who were deployed overseas and the reintegration after their return home. The National Military Family Association commissioned a study by the RAND Corporation that addresses this issue.
The research is among the first to explore how these children are faring academically, socially, and emotionally during an extended period of wartime. Results show that children from military families studied may be experiencing above average levels of emotional and behavioral difficulties, relative to national norms.
This report has had a fairly wide media response and has been published in Stars and Stripes, New York Times and the Science Daily to name a few. We have provided links to the actual reports for your benefit.
You can read the full report from Rand’s Press Release – here Longer Parental Deployment Linked to More Emotional Challenges for Military Children
Additionally you can download the full report in a PDF format directly from the National Military Family Associations website.
Views from the Home Front – The Experience of Children from Military Families
Here are the major points from this report:
■ Children in military families experienced emotional and behavioral difficulties at rates above national averages.
■ About one-third of the children reported symptoms of anxiety, which is somewhat higher than the percentage reported in other studies of children.
■ Self-reported problems varied by age and gender: Older youths and boys reported more difficulties with school and more problem behaviors, such as fighting; greater numbers of younger children (compared with older children) and girls reported anxiety symptoms.
The results also revealed challenges posed specifically by deployment:
■ Longer periods of parental deployment (within the past three years) were linked to greater difficulties in children’s social and emotional functioning, at least based on caregiver reports.
■ Deployment-related challenges varied by age and gender: Older youths experienced greater school- and peer-related difficulties during deployment; girls experienced greater difficulties during the period of reintegration than did boys.
■Children whose caregivers had better self-reported mental health were better able to cope with the deployment experience both during and after.
■ Living on-base was linked with reduced difficulties both during and after deployment.
The results represent an important first step in understanding the link between parental deployment and military child and family well-being. The findings suggest the need for more research to improve understanding in several areas, including the link between caregiver mental health and child well-being and the reasons why girls and older youth may be reporting more challenges with deployment. The results also highlight several avenues for possible intervention. For example, families may benefit from targeted support to deal with stressors from multiple months of deployment, rather than only during initial months. Further, families in which caregivers face mental health issues may need more support for both caregiver and child.
Reports like this validate the OHAH mission and are the reason why our volunteers are eager to help us achieve our goals. We want to help our military children who are faced with the inevitable. Founder of Operation Hug-A-Hero®, Tricia Dyal, states “We want to be able to help these children by providing them with a coping mechanism before that parent ever deploys. A Hug-A-Hero® doll should be their security blanket.”
We posted a story on Tuesday about the Bay NEWS 9 interview that ran on Monday August 24th, 2009. That story featured Lisa Berg of OPERATION Hug-A-Hero, however she was not the main focus of the interview. The real stars of the interview are OUR Everyday Heroes. In this case it was the Dorr Family and the Creaser Family. Mrs Dorr was kind enough to open her home and both shared their experience with us. Families of our deployed military members go through a lot of hardships. By listening to their stories, it helps all of us understand what its like to be a military spouse wearing the hat of mommy and daddy. We appreciate both families sharing their stories with us.
Here is the behind the scenes as written by Lisa Berg – Executive Director:
“Thank you to the Dorr Family and the Creaser Family for taking time out of their busy schedules to interview with Bay News 9! We had a great time interviewing with them this past Monday. This is a local station that has great local coverage of the Tampa Bay communities. We are honored that they chose us to feature in their “Everyday Heroes” segment. The Everyday Heroes are the military families that proudly serve our country and their families that often move to new, strange places and have to do it alone while a parent is deployed. The cameraman, Marty came in to a houseful of kids running around. Half of the kids there do not have daddy home right now. Mrs Jackie Dorr was generous enough to open her beautiful home to us and hasn’t seen her husband since March. Her little girl Paisley, 10 months, loves her Hug-A-Hero Doll and doesn’t seem to go anywhere without him! Mrs Megan Creaser came to the interview as well, so we could feature her to allow the public to help donate to allow her daughter, Allaina to receive her own Hug-A-Hero Doll through our program. Little Allaina was born 9 months ago and her daddy had to leave on his deployment just 4 weeks after her birth. Thank you to the Creasers for taking time out to be featured on this piece! The other children running around happen to be my own twins who love their dolls too, but they also have Daddy home right now. They were “extras”. This piece will air next Monday, August 24th hourly starting at 5:53 am. We’re excited to have been given this chance to help us spread awareness and hopefully receive donations from the great community of Tampa Bay.