Over the next few months we will have in-person screenings of the Donut Dollies Documentary around the country. We would like to know if any Donut Dollies would be interested in attending any of the following screenings:
Beaufort, SC – Saturday, Feb. 26th @ 2 PM
Madison, WI – Saturday, Feb. 26th (time TBD)
Tampa, FL – Friday, May 27th, 2:30 PM & Saturday, May 28th, 10:00 AM
Attendance is limited, but if you live near to these events and would like to come, please email Jim Gardner at email@example.com – more details will be provided by email. If you are unable to attend, but know a Donut Dollie who may be interested in attending, we ask you to share this information with them.
Easthampton, Mass. (February 1, 2022) – For Women’s History Month this March, Right Hand Man Productions is proud to announce the streaming and DVD release of their award-winning film, “The Donut Dollies.” This documentary tells the story of 627 college graduate women who, through a sense of patriotism and inquisitiveness about the truth of the Vietnam War, chose to volunteer through a Red Cross program called Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas (SRAO). Their mission was to boost morale and provide a sense of hope and support to our troops. They were affectionately known as Donut Dollies, a nickname handed down father to son by those who served during World War II and the Korean War.
This documentary features two best friends who joined this program and follows them on their return to Vietnam for the first time in 46 years. The film presents memories from over a dozen women and veterans who served during the Vietnam War, along with hundreds of archival photos and vintage 8mm film. Alternatingly heartbreaking and hilarious, this “buddy film“ features Donut Dollies Dorset Hoogland Anderson of Cummington, MA and her best friend Mary Blanchard Bowe (deceased 2021) of Schertz, TX as they travel to the locations of the former military bases they lived on, hoping to access the sites and unlock long forgotten memories.
Many of the women who served in this program chose to hide the true stories of their experiences in Vietnam from their families and friends following their return home. Some for decades after. During their year in-country, Donut Dollies experienced the horrors of the Vietnam War just like our servicemen, including the danger of incoming fire on base and in flight while visiting men on frontline firebases. As their service was in a civilian capacity, the Donut Dollies were not eligible for Veterans Administration benefits, and many struggled years later with the effects of Agent Orange exposure and PTSD. During the seven years of the SRAO program in Vietnam (1965-72), three young women died in-country, one at the hands of a serviceman.
The origins of this film dates back almost 25 years, when the film’s director, Norm Anderson, first learned about his mother’s service as a Donut Dollie in Vietnam. He began to document her stories for his family through home movies, but as the stories deepened through meeting other women who served, he assembled a crew to film in Vietnam to tell the little known story of the Donut Dollies. Norm explains “This project began as a labor of love for my favorite Donut Dollie – my Mom (Dorset). But it grew into a mission to celebrate and preserve the stories of her 600+ Donut Dollie sisters, as well.”
“The Donut Dollies” won the award for Best Documentary Feature at the G.I. Film Festival and received nominations in Best Documentary (twice), Best Director Feature, Best Musical Score and People’s Choice categories at film festivals around the country. Both the online download/stream and the DVD feature 35-minutes of bonus materials including previously unseen interviews, memorabilia, photos and film footage, along with a nearly 15-minute photo montage depicting a few hundred Donut Dollies who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
In conjunction with the release of the Donut Dollies Documentary, we are asking Donut Dollies who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars to join us in celebrating Women’s History Month in March (and beyond). We’d like to offer two opportunities for you to share your story. One will be the sharing a photo of a piece of memorabilia from your service for inclusion in our new Memorabilia Mondays project and the other is our Donut Dollie Detail feature.
For Memorabilia Mondays, we’re seeking a photo of a piece of a Donut Dollie’s personal memorabilia and ask her to write a few sentences about the item, details of the years and bases she served on, the origin of the item, what it means to her and any other info she would like to share. ***See below for details on how best to capture the images***
The Donut Dollie Detail project is something we’re honored to have featured nearly 60 in-their-own-words stories by Donut Dollies. You can see previous editions at this link – www.donutdollies.com/category/donut-dollie-detail To take part we would ask you to provide answers to 10 questions (***see below***) along with 4 in-country photos which show important memories of your service, including a headshot, maybe a group photo of you and your Donut Dollie sisters and of programming or spending time with the men. ***See below for details on how best to capture the images***
Both of these projects are important for sharing the story of the Donut Dollies at a time when interest from the public and veterans is growing around the release of our documentary. We believe this will be a wonderful way to share the personal histories of Donut Dollies of both wars and we hope you’ll want to take part in one or both of these projects. If you have questions about anything, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We thank you for your service and look forward to sharing a part of your story.
Photography suggestions for Memorabilia Mondays items:
Photos of the item itself will be fine, but to add a little personality or connection to the item, you may like to pose with the item, while also including close-up photo(s). For photographing the item, please place the item on a flat surface (like a table top) and use the flash on your smartphone. Feel free to send us 2 or 3 shots of the item, which will allow us to choose the best images.
Scanning/photography suggestions for the Donut Dollie Detail feature:
The best way to capture these photos is by scanning them at a resolution of 300dpi or higher, but if you don’t have access to a scanner, a smartphone image will be fine. The best way to take the photo is on a tabletop with overhead lighting, while avoiding shadows from the photo or yourself. You may also want to send versions of the photos taken with the flash on your smartphone to allow us to choose between flash and non-flash for the best version.
The Donut Dollie Detail 10-questions list:
What prompted you to join the SRAO (Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas) program and want to go to Korea/Vietnam?
When and where were you stationed in Korea/Vietnam? Did you go by a nickname? How would you like your name listed in your feature?
What was a routine day like in Korea/Vietnam?
Did you ever have any “close calls” either on base or in any vehicles?
Were you ever injured while in Korea/Vietnam?
What was it like to visit the soldiers in the hospitals?
How was the transition returning home to the United States?
What would you like people to remember and understand most about the women who served?
How do you feel Veterans think of your time having served with them? Have any Veterans expressed their feelings to you directly?
What are your fondest or most interesting memories of your time serving in Korea/Vietnam?
The response to the release of the Donut Dollies Documentary has been very positive. Please remember that you’ll receive a $5 discount off your download purchase by January 15th, so don’t miss out. In addition to the 87-minute award-winning film, you’ll also have access to nearly 50-minutes of extras, including a photo album featuring hundreds of Donut Dollies who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Those who have seen our documentary say that it provides a deeper understanding of what the Donut Dollies experienced and provides a new insight into the Vietnam War, as well as some laughter and tears. You can make your purchase now at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thedonutdollies
After making your purchase, you can help spread the word on the Donut Dollies by liking and commenting right on our Vimeo page, and through sharing via social media with family, friends, organizations or veterans you may know. Additionally, comments can be made on our website – www.donutdollies.com and on our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/thedonutdollies
With your help, we can share the little known story of the Donut Dollies and bring them into the spotlight of women’s history and our country’s history.
Norm, Jess & Jim
P.S. – If you are a Donut Dollie who served during the Korean or Vietnam Wars, please email us at email@example.com for a FREE download of the film