At the morning coffee break during the CME Council meeting on 28 April 2016, Mrs. Shirley O’Connell had an opportunity to show Branch Council members the work of the Izzy Doll project over the past decade. The project is conducted in memory of MCpl Mark Isfeld and his humanitarian work with children while he was deployed on peacekeeping operations. The Izzy Doll project distributes the small Izzy Dolls that bring some comfort to children around the world who have been placed in miserable and inhospitable circumstances through war and natural disaster. A comprehensive report on that project can be found at: https://cmea-agmc.ca/story-izzy-dolls
The Canadian Military Engineers used this opportunity to present Mrs. O’Connell with a CME Commendation in recognition of her decade of leadership and work as the “Izzy Doll Mama.” The Citation summarizes the work of Shirley O’Connell:
In recognition of her leadership and passionate and tireless work with the Izzy Doll Project
Mrs. O’Connell accepted the responsibility of being the “Izzy Doll Mama” upon the untimely deaths of Carol and Brian Isfeld. Since then she has led the movement for a decade to provide Izzy Dolls that bring some comfort to children around the world who have been placed in miserable and inhospitable circumstances through war and natural disaster.
Initially focusing on locations where Canadian Military Engineers were deployed, she has led the expansion of the movement that now includes a number of Non-Government Organizations. Most recently, she has worked tirelessly to give comfort to the arriving Syrian Refugee children.
Mrs. O’Connell actively recruits new knitters and conducts workshops and has seen more than 80,000 dolls knitted and distributed. She is a most worthy recipient of the Canadian Military Engineers Commendation for this outstanding work.
Left to right: CME Branch CWO, CWO R.G. Swift, CAF Chief Military Engineer, MGen K.D. McQuillan, Mrs Shirley O’Connell, LCol Ken Holmes (Ret’d) CMEA History and Heritage, Col Cmdt, BGen S.M. Irwin (Ret’d)