Someone once said, “A Dad is someone who wants to catch you before you fall but instead picks you up, brushes you off, and lets you try again.”
Fathers’ Day is a day set aside for honoring Dads and celebrating all that they mean in our lives. For military children it can be a sad day when Dad is an ocean away deployed to a foreign land. Special days like Father’s Day, Christmas and Birthdays are especially hard when a parent is deployed. Operation Hug-A-Hero seeks to pay tribute to these special kids as they cope with separation. Military children go through a range of emotions when Dad is away, everything from fears about his safety to worrying about the reunion when he returns. While the deployed or fallen parent can never be replaced, a Hug-A-Hero doll can offer solace during their most trying times such as a holidays and special occasions.
The Hug-A-Hero doll features the head-to-toe photograph of the child’s active duty parent (usually dressed in uniform), with a pocket in the back to save pictures or letters from their loved one. This one-of-a-kind doll is incredibly durable and washable so it can survive many deployments.
Please consider a tax-deductible donation to Operation Hug-A-Hero today. Your $20 gift can alleviate the worry and suffering of a small child missing their deployed or fallen parent. These brave children deserve the admiration and steadfast support of all Americans.
Individuals who wish to donate directly can do so via the Operation Hug-A-Hero website: www.operationhugahero.org. Corporations, Civic Groups, and Community Groups are encouraged to contact OHAH Director of Communications, Carla Olivo at 540-847-1467 or Carla.Contento-Olivo@operationhugahero.org or Executive Director Lisa Berg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are proud to be featured in the Newsletter for Girl Scouts Council – Louisiana East during our Month of the Military Child campaign. We know firsthand how important volunteers are to our mission and to important organizations like the Girl Scouts. Thank you for featuring Operation Hug-A-Hero, Council Louisiana East! To read more, click 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.
Operation Hug-A-Hero announces its FIRST Corporate Partnership with Hilton HHonors Giving Back Program! Loyalty program members donate Hilton HHonors points for children of deployed or Fallen American heroes to receive their own custom made Hug-A-Hero doll. We are honored to welcome Hilton HHonors Giving Back Program to Our Family. You can learn about us on the Hilton HHonors Giving Back program here.
To read more about this partnership, see our Press Release on PRUnderground.
Executive Director, Lisa Berg was contacted by reporter Ileana Morales in mid-January to learn more about our cause. At the time, Mrs Berg was enjoying some family time as her husband, Benjamin Berg, USCG was home for a visit from the Middle East. Miss Morales and Mrs Berg reconnected and together learned about a local family who is currently without Daddy.
The Brian Dorr Family was gracious enough to let us into their home to allow us to learn more about their lives as an Army Family and their own experiences with Hug-A-Hero dolls while Daddy serves our country.
Please read the St Petersburg Times articles posted on TBO.com: Hug-A-Hero dolls help military children keep deployed parent close.
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.
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.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 10, 2009
OPERATION Hug-A-Hero® Veterans Day American Flag Tribute eBay Auction
OPERATION Hug-A-Hero launches eBay auction featuring an American Flag flown over an historic military installation, in honor of the winning bidder, on Veterans Day. Proceeds raised from the auction will support OPERATION Hug-A-Hero’s programs and services targeting the children of those who serve in the military, law enforcement and as first responders.
United States (PRunderground) November 10, 2009 – OPERATION Hug-A-Hero®, a 501(c)(3) organization serving the children of military, law enforcement and first responders, launched a very special auction this week on eBay to raise valuable funds and honor those who have served the nation – past, present and fallen – this Veterans Day.
To the highest bidder will go an American Flag, flown specifically in his/her name in honor of those who have served, high and proud over one of the most historically-significant US military installations in the world, on Veterans Day. The unique, one-of-a-kind collectible is expected to generate great interest and a generous bid for OPERATION Hug-A-Hero.
“We are humbled by the individuals who organized this amazing tribute and selected OPERATION Hug-A-Hero as the beneficiary,” stated Stephanie Crabb, Director of Development for the non-profit group. “There is no greater symbol of freedom than the American Flag. To have it fly high and proud, at a US military installation steeped in rich history for our cause, on Veterans Day no less, is incredibly moving for our entire team.”
Once the Flag has been flown, a certificate bearing the name of the winning bidder, the time, location and installation where the Flag was flown will be signed by a commissioned US military officer. Further, the certificate will notify all that the Flag was flown for the winning bidder on behalf of OPERATION Hug-A-Hero and all of those who have served.
The eBay auction is being sponsored by Goin’ Postal in New Port Richey, Florida, a specialist in eBay auction services that donated its expertise and waived all fees associated with the auction as its contribution to OPERATION Hug-A-Hero.
The American Flag Tribute eBay auction for OPERATION Hug-A-Hero will end at 10 pm EST on Wednesday, November 11, 2009. Interested parties may bid on the Flag on eBay, EBay Auction Item number: 180426880681.
For more information on the American Flag Tribute or other OPERATION Hug-A-Hero fundraising initiatives, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About OPERATION Hug-A-Hero:
Operation Hug-A-Hero® is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization (ID # 26-3006655) serving the children of our nation’s heroes that serve in our armed services, law enforcement and as first responders.
Since its establishment in 2008, Operation Hug-A-Hero has raised funds to launch and implement its Hug-A-Hero doll program. To date, hundreds of Hug-A-Hero dolls have been provided, at no cost, to the children of heroes that are deployed, in harm’s way each and every day, or fallen.
The Hug-A-Hero doll is no ordinary doll. The Hug-A-Hero doll’s design features the head-to-toe photograph of the recipient’s parent or loved one and a personalized message just for them. The doll not only provides comfort in the times of distress or sadness that separation can cause, but also provides a vehicle for the child to share his/her feeling and tell his/her story about his/her hero’s service.
Both Hennessy’s are Marines and Mommy was deployed for this testimony:
“Kaylei brings her doll to all the stores with her and screams Mommy, Mommy and shoves it at anybody who will look at her. I get emails all the time telling me how cute everyone thinks it is. It was the perfect Christmas present so tell them thank you very much from us all” Cpl Rebekah Hennessy