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Daddy Dolls: 'Huggable Reminders of Deployed Loved Ones'

Daddy Doll

Nathan gives his Daddy Doll squeeze

Military deployment can bring about a unique kind of pain and loss for kids. Not only is mom or dad away for work, but sometimes the kind of work they do means they won’t ever come home.

The wives of two Marines understand that kind of anxiety and sadness all too well. Their husbands have been deployed twice in less than two years time, and they found that the absence of their children’s fathers was taking a real toll on their families.

That’s why Tricia Dyal and Nikki Darnell started making Daddy Dolls, which are 12-inch dolls with a picture of a military parent. The words “Love You” are emblazoned on the dolls’ bottoms.

Their own kids play with their Daddy Dolls, but also “reply on them for strength during trying times like doctor’s visits or when they need an ‘owie’ kissed . . . they have also become part of story time and grocery shopping.”

And now with the help of a grant from Wal-Mart and Operation Hug-A-Hero, the American Red Cross is giving more than 1,000 of the Daddy Dolls to children of deployed parents, according to 10News.com in San Diego.

Military families say the dolls are better than regular photos, and the results for kids missing a deployed parents have been huge. There’s no replacement for the real thing, but having the second-best thing to hug is pretty nice anyway.

To make a donation to Operation Hug-A-Hero to help provide more Daddy Dolls to military children, go here.

And for some separation coping tips for military families — straight from other military families — go here.

Photo credit: DaddyDolls.com

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