Commander of Op CROCODILE gives Izzy dolls in an orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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Article / April 24, 2017

By: Task Force DRC

In support of the Izzy Doll Project, Colonel Pierre “Pete” Huet, the Task Force Commander of Operation CROCODILE, along with the other members of the Task Force, took the opportunity to visit the Tulizeni Centre orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo to distribute a very special gift. 

For the 87 children at the orphanage, daily life involves typical communal living where everything is shared. This visit changed that. On this very special occasion, each child would receive an Izzy doll—something they could truly call their own. 

The excitement was everywhere as Colonel Huet reached into his bag and pulled out the next doll. They are each different and came out displaying many design and colour variations. Children would jump when one of the dolls caught their eye, one that they would cherish over all others. Their faces were filled with joy and love as they each received their personal Izzy doll, which will certainly be cherished for some time to come. 

When asked about this visit, Colonel Huet had only great things to say. “While the members of Operation Crocodile have visited this orphanage in the past, this time was especially touching as we were afforded the opportunity to extend love on behalf of the Izzy Doll Project,” he said. “These kids couldn’t have been a more worthy cause to support due to the tragic histories and experiences they have had to endure before being sheltered by the Tulizeni Centre.”

The Izzy Doll Project was established by 1 Combat Engineer Regiment (1 CER) following the tragic death of Master Corporal Mark “Izzy” Isfeld in 1994, while on peacekeeping duties in Croatia, as a result of a booby-trapped land mine. Carol Isfeld, Mark’s mother, had been sending these little dolls to Mark for the children prior to his death. In Mark’s honour, 1 CER named them “Izzy Dolls” and asked if she would continue to make them, so that they could give the dolls to children who found themselves the innocent victims of conflict. 

The Izzy Doll Project, with the support of the International Community for the Relief of Starvation and Suffering Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces, has distributed over a million dolls to destitute children around the world. With current operations that are ongoing, the Izzy Doll Project continues to extend its love to the kids who suffer as a result of conflicts around the world.

Approximately nine Canadian Armed Forces members are part of Operation CROCODILE, Canada’s military contribution to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, better known as theMission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en République démocratique du Congo, or the acronym MONUSCO.

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