UPDATE: June 30, 2009
We now have the interview posted here on the site for your viewing pleasure. If you click on the AWN logo (below) you will be taken to a Podcast site, where you can listen to the entire recorded show..it’s a little over an hour in length, and covers other topics besides OHAH.
We know that time is important to you so we scaled down the original show and picked out just the interview with Lisa Berg of Operation Hug-A-Hero and that you can listen to here (approx 13 minutes length). ARMY WIFE NETWORK -Radio Interview – June 15, 2009
We are so excited to be featured on the Army Wife Network and to speak with the talented founders on Monday evening, June 15th at 8pm EST. We will air just after 9pm. Please tune in to their Blog Talk Radio to hear questions and answers about our cause which we are so passionate about. We encourage you to listen in and learn more about us!
The Daily Press ran a feature on June 19th, 2009 prior to Fathers Day weekend, with a short story about OPERATION Hug-A-Hero and a very nice photo of two of our recent participants.
You can read more of the story here – entitled ” N.C. company provides ‘Hug a Hero’ dolls to children of deployed military members”.
|ran a similar story in their Parenting section.|
|ran a feature with the Nelson Family that was also depicted in the Tampa Tribune article last week.|
FATHER’S DAY IS A SPECIAL TIME TO REMEMBER THE CHILDREN
OF AMERICA’S DEPLOYED SERVICE MEMBERS
WHO WE ARE: Operation Hug-A-Hero™, www.OperationHugAHero.org
WHAT WE DO: Provide FREE Hug-A-Hero™ Dolls to Military Children of Deployed Parents
WHERE: Across the Globe
WHY: To Ease Separation Anxiety for the Children of ALL Active Duty Service Members
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Make Others Aware of Our Inspiring Cause
Jacksonville, North Carolina, June 2009 – Father’s Day is just a few days away but for at least 100,000
children of deployed military members, it will be another day spent thinking about, but not spending
with, their father. Our proud military forces continue the long vigil of defending the United States
from terrorism while bringing freedom and peace to other nations across the globe. Unfortunately, this
worthy and honorable duty often comes at the sacrifice of time spent with family, and sometimes, even
at the cost of American lives lost far from home. This Father’s Day, in addition to recognizing the
contribution of our own fathers, grandfathers and important men in our lives, we should give pause to
consider the fathers that are missing irreplaceable time with their own families while helping to defend
our own. A small non-profit organization, Operation Hug-A-Hero™, provides a very special way to
recognize and support these heroes by bringing peace and comfort to their children back at home.
It has been more than four years since Tricia Dyal created and sent out the first Hug-A-Hero™ doll,
bearing the likeness of a deployed service member, from her home to a child in Jacksonville, North
Carolina. Now, she and co-creator Nikki Darnell are awed by the reception that their Hug-A-Hero™
dolls have gotten all over the globe. They created the dolls to fill a need in their own children’s lives
when their husbands were deployed to Iraq in 2005. Hug-A-Hero™ dolls are a simple design; a full
body picture of a loved one sewn into a soft, washable doll. Their purpose, however, is far from
simple. Easing the loneliness and anxiety of deployments for children of service members, the Hug-AHero
™ dolls are now filling a void for other military children. Hand sewn and individually produced
in the United States, these dolls bridge the gap between those deployed and the families left at home.
When it became obvious how beneficial the dolls were to their children’s emotional well-being, Dyal
and Darnell knew they had to share their creation with the world. The two Marine Corps wives began
making dolls from their homes, formed Daddy Dolls®, Inc., launched a website, and while juggling
their own military moves and deployments, have watched their business grow. “We’re so proud to see
Hug-A-Hero™ dolls touching so many lives all over the world” says Dyal.
From the beginning, it has been Dyal and Darnell’s dream to give their Hug-A-Hero™ dolls to every
military child faced with the stresses and separation of a deployment. “We know first hand that they
help the child cope, and that, in-turn, helps the parents cope,” says Darnell. Shortly after they formed
Daddy Dolls®, Inc., they developed a special fund – financed through the generous donations of
individuals, organizations, and companies. The fund became known as Operation Hug-A-Hero™ and
provides dolls to children who have lost a parent in the line of duty or to children whose families
cannot afford a doll. Already, the organization has been able to help thousands of children, but limited
funds require that recipients come recommended by Chaplains based on need.
Experience has shown that America is filled with amazing people who are willing to support US troops
wherever possible. In some cases, that has meant sending supplies and gifts to the troops overseas.
Even more comforting to fathers and mothers who are deployed is ensuring that there is support and
comfort provided to their families left behind, especially for the children who do not yet comprehend
why the parent must be away. With their Hug-A-Hero™ dolls and other resources designed to help
military families get through long deployments, Dyal and Darnell provide that support to the children
of our military members. In an effort to make donating easier, to provide donors with the tax benefit of
a non-profit donation, and to identify and communicate with those families in need, Operation Hug-AHero
™, Inc. was formed on August 6, 2008. Lisa Berg, Executive Director of Operation Hug-AHero
™, strives tirelessly to match up donor purchased dolls with those children most in need of
support. Dyal and Berg hope that the formation of the non-profit organization will encourage
corporate sponsorships and someday soon allow them to gift Hug-A-Hero™ dolls to every military
child who wants one.
“It’s truly inspiring to see people open their hearts to the children of our deployed service members.
One woman from Massachusetts actually posted a sign in her gym for donations to Operation Hug-AHero
™ and raised over $500!” Dyal relates. “It’s so heart-warming to see people who don’t even have
a connection to the military stepping forward and saying, ‘this is a small way that I can help that
soldier, sailor, airman, marine or Coastguardsman who is defending MY freedom — by doing
something for his or her child.” Berg relates, “There is also a dentist in Louisiana that is reaching out
to our cause by allowing his patients the option to donate at the time of their visit to his office. This
dentist served in the LA Army National Guard with two tours supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
When people realize the numbers of children who are missing a father or mother due to military
deployment, it truly pulls at their heartstrings to lend support.”
Donating to, or learning more about Operation Hug-A-Hero™, is simple and secure thanks to a newly
designed web portal found at www.operationhugahero.org. The website features testimonials and
letters of thanks from families who have been supported from a free doll in addition to blogs about
coping with extended deployments, resources for families, and information about how individuals can
volunteer or kick off fund-raising and awareness in their communities. The site also highlights
Operation Hug-A-Hero’s™ appearance in recent national media and, very importantly, thanks our
generous list of sponsors.
For additional information, pictures and back story on Operation Hug-A-Hero™ or for local points of
contacts (i.e. military families in your local area that have benefited from our services), contact Lisa
Berg or visit www.operationhugahero.org.
Founder: Tricia Dyal (910) 333-1502, Tricia at OperationHugAHero.org
Executive Director & Media Relations Point of Contact: Lisa Berg (910) 546-3127, Lisa at OperationHugAHero.org
Mrs Nelson and her two little sweethearts will be without their daddy, Army SPC Scott Nelson for over a year. We want to thank Mrs Nelson for taking time out of her busy schedule to interview with the newspaper. You can read the entire article now over at TBO.com entitled Daddy Dolls ease deployment pain.
OPERATION Hug-A-Hero appeared on WTKF Coastal Daybreak at 8:30 AM on April 30, 2009.
FM 107.1 WTKF Atlantic NC / AM 1240 WJNC Jacksonville
This was a very good interview and featured Tricia Dyal Founder of Daddy Dolls and Operation Hug-A-Hero and Jean Hislop Executive Administrator for Operation Hug-A-Hero. Tricia talks about how Daddy Dolls were initially created, and the impact and comfort that they provide for the children of deployed military moms and dads.
Jean also commented about the fact that not only deployed military family members can take advantage, but also many family members of deployed contractors that serve right along side our troops, in Iraq, Afghanistan and other remote locations around the globe.
We have a copy of the interview for your listening pleasure, all you have to do is click the link below.
Donations range anywhere from $5 to $1,000. Any amount will help a child in need. To make and deliver one doll to a child, the cost is $30.
We turn your donations into the making and delivering of each doll. A portion of donations are used for administrative and fundraising expenses. Operation Hug-A-HeroTM currently has one paid employee at this time.