EASLEY — Carol Davis said she decided to make some stress relief Dang-It dolls for her family and friends as gag Christmas gifts.
She also sent one to a family friend who was stationed in Iraq with the National Guard Unit out of McIntire Air Base in Columbia. Attached to the doll was this poem:
When your day is stressful
And you want to scream and shout
Here’s a little “DANG-IT DOLL”
That you can’t live without.
Grasp it firmly by its legs
And find a place to bang it
And as you whack it’s stuffing out
Yell, “DANG-IT, DANG-IT, DANG-IT.
“I expected he would laugh and ask me why would I send him a doll,” Davis said. “Instead he wanted to send me some money so that I could buy some for the other members of his unit.”
Davis told him she had made the dolls but she could make a few more. How many would he need? His answer: 300.
“I decided, if my silly dolls brought that much joy to our servicemen and women, I would see that all who wanted one would have one.”
That is how Operation Military Stress Relief Dolls was born.
Davis has shipped 120,000 Dang-It Dolls to military men and women all over the world. She also gives the dolls to servicemen and women at deployment centers and veteran’s hospitals. She often receives pictures of the dolls perched in Jeeps and tents.
Davis was in Easley recently conducting a Dang-It Doll workshop for the Fort Prince George Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The Fort Prince George Chapter invited 35 children from the DAR Tamassee School to make the dolls for the military.
The school was established in 1919 by DAR to provide a refuge from abuse and neglect for children of northwestern South Carolina by providing a home-like atmosphere, tutorial assistance, and training in life skills.
Davis arrived in her van with two helpers, Rose Beason and Lil Reynolds.
Beason received an email of a newspaper article that stated Davis was making 2,000 dolls for the 218th National Guard deployment that left for Afghanistan in 2007.
“I put my sewing machine in my car and headed for Columbia,” she said.
Beason, who lives in Greer, is now the Upstate Coordinator for the operation. Reynolds had taught home economics in Akron, Ohio, and recently moved to South Carolina from Virginia.
“This is just basic sewing,” Reynolds said. “People who have never sewn before can make these dolls.”
The children ranged in age from 6 to 16. The Tamassee children completed 101 dolls that will be included in the next shipment overseas.
Anne Kilpatrick, vice regent of the Fort Prince George Chapter, said she “was impressed by the focus and creativity of all the students here today.”
Davis holds several workshops each month. Check www.militarystressreliefdolls.com if interested in volunteering or hosting a workshop.
Information submitted by Lynda Abegg