One of the customers of Carol Davis' cleaning service gave her an odd gift a couple of decades ago, a "dammit" doll.
The doll, Davis learned, is to be whacked on a table to get your frustrations out.
She liked it.
So, in 2004, Davis made one to send to her grandson, T.R. Hagmaier, stationed in Italy with the Air Force.
"I sent it to him kind of as a joke, to get a rise out of him," said Davis, now 65 and a great- grandmother.
"I expected him to say some-thing like, 'Gee, you got me a doll?' Instead, he called and said, 'If we send you money, can you make some for everybody?'"
"Everybody" turned out to be 300 service members in Italy and Iraq. It was the genesis of what now is called Operation Military Stress Relief Dolls.
Since then, Davis and a host of volunteers across the state have cranked out 30,000 "Dang It" dolls that have been given to service members for free.
Each has a poem attached:
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 its stuffing out
Yell, DANG-IT, DANG-IT, DANG-IT!
Davis, who also volunteers with the USO, said she works for veterans now because she remembers how poorly vets of her generation were treated, upon returning from Vietnam.
"These kids are going to know that they are appreciated," she said. "Those kids that went to Vietnam didn't have a choice. These kids have a choice, and they have chosen to serve their country.
"I just wonder why everybody isn't doing something."
_- Jeff Wilkinson, staff writer