Executive Director, Lisa Berg was interviewed with Laurie Kendrick of News 92 Houston about Operation Hug-A-Hero. We appreciate News 92FM helping to spread awareness so we can help more of our Littlest Heroes on the homefront. You can listen to their interview here.
Operation Hug-A-Hero supports our military children and the children of our fallen public safety officers by providing a free Hug-A-Hero doll to those in need. April is Month of the Military Child but we also salute them all year long. See our Press Release here.
Operation Hug-A-Hero to Receive Proceeds from Sale of “Beyond The Uniform”
Operation Hug-A-Hero is pleased to announce a partnership with “Beyond the Uniform”, every military girl’s survival guide. The authors, Megan Bekkedahl and Melaina Lausen will graciously donate 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their newly released “Beyond The Uniform”, a 226 page guide for those married to or dating someone in uniform.
“Beyond The Uniform” is a collection of stories covering a wide variety of topics concerning military life. These inspirational, sometimes funny, and always interesting stories feature tips on surviving deployment, making new friendships and even includes recipes for entertaining!
The Operation Hug-A-Hero program provides a tangible, comforting connection between military children and their deployed or fallen military loved one. Hug-A-Hero dolls, featuring the photo of the military loved one, become a constant companion for many military children as they face doctor’s visits, tough days at school, or long nights missing the absent parent.
“We believe each child experiencing the absence of a parent deployed or the permanent absence of a parent who has fallen in the line of duty deserves the extra comfort our Hug-A-Hero dolls provide, “ said Lisa Berg, Executive Director, Operation Hug-A Hero. “Each Hug-A-Hero doll is one of a kind.”
Operation Hug-A-Hero salutes the generosity of Ms. Bekkedahl and Ms Lausen. We encourage everyone to purchase their copy of “Beyond The Uniform” to support giving America’s littlest heroes their very own Hug-A-Hero doll. To purchase your copy, simply go to Lulu.com.
For more information contact Lisa Berg, OHAH Executive Director lisa AT operationhugahero.org or Carla Olivo, OHAH Director of Communications media AT operationhugahero.org
The Operation Hug-A-Hero family extends their heartfelt prayers and sympathy to the families of the 30 U.S. Special Operations Troops killed over the weekend in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. These fallen heroes will always be cherished by their loved ones and their bravery and service to their country will never be forgotten by a grateful nation.
Operation Hug-A-Hero would like to offer each child affected their own custom-made Hug-A-Hero Doll of their fallen hero, their daddies. We believe our special dolls can provide a tangible, comforting connection for these children in the coming transitional months.
If you know a child directly affected by this recent tragedy who might benefit from a Hug-a-Hero doll, please contact Operation Hug-A-Hero at (888) HUG-0329, ext. 101 (484-0329).
If you would like to help Operation Hug-A-Hero in providing a little comfort to the children of our fallen heroes, please go to www.operationhugahero.org to make your tax-deductible donation.
We have set up Special Monitoring of our phone lines for this so that we can promptly respond to assist the Children (our little Heroes) in their time of need.
Just a reminder that the 3rd Annual 5K and Family Fun Run in Walled Lake, Michigan will be held Saturday May 29th. This event supports Operation Hug-A-Hero and The Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund. It should prove to be a fun event! The Support Our Troops 5K Run will begin with a grand opening celebration that includes an Honor Guard flag raising ceremony and the national anthem performed by local singer Gracie Jessup. All runners and walkers will enjoy a healthy brunch after the event provided by Uptown Grille and Great Harvest Bread in Commerce Township.
Press release for 3rd Annual 5K and Family Fun Run
Schools “Dress Down” for OPERATION Hug-A-Hero
Join us in celebrating the Month of the Military Child by “Dressing Down” at your school! Don’t have a uniform dress code at your school? Join us in a “Pennies for Heroes” fund drive instead!
For our “Dress Down” fundraiser, you determine the amount of the donation that earns your students a dress down day, and we will provide a customized promotional flyer template for you to promote your tribute to military children.
For our “Pennies for Heroes” fundraiser, put a collection receptacle in your school office, cafeteria, gymnasium during sporting events and raise funds for OPERATION Hug-A-Hero! Again, we will provide a promotional flyer for you to post and distribute to your students and on your website.
For more information, contact our Director of Development, Stephanie Crabb at 888-HUG-0329, ext 113 or Stephanie At operationhugahero.org.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
With the recent news of President Obama’s announcement for troop increases to Afghanistan, we have seen a huge upsurge in family’s requesting our services. We are pleased to be able to support our little hero’s as the Moms and Dads deploy to support us all.
This is a recent recipients letter of thanks. From the Castro’s an Army Family living in Germany.
The Family Story as Told by the deploying father, Sergeant Castro
I have a 2 year old son that just broke my heart saying goodbye to. We are very close to each other. Since I left he would cry for me. It breaks my heart for my wife to deal with this every day for a year.
This is the recent email we received from Imani’s mom
Thank you so much for this wonderful program! Imani received his Daddy Doll today and was so excited to get to hug and kiss his miniature daddy!
Imani is 2 1/2 years old and this is already his 2nd deployment. His Dad left for Afghanistan the first time when he was only 6 days old and just recently left again for another tour last month. He was so excited to own his Daddy Doll. He now takes him everywhere in the house. Once again, thank you for this wonderful gift..
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.”
Operation Hug-A-Hero and the Dorr Family were spotlighted today by Tampa Bay’s 10 Connects and recognized as local heroes. The feature interview describes the challenges the Dorr Family faced with the deployment of Brian Dorr to Afghanistan. Operation Hug-a-Hero was there to hear how their Hug-A-Hero doll helped their daughter Paisley and how it kept Daddy close throughout his time overseas. The video and article can be found here.