New American Girl Dolls Honor Frontline Heroes

The five amazing honorees were recently announced.

Aug 31, 2020

(Courtesy American Girl)

The American Girl dolls have been a favorite for a generation of girls. The dolls portray girls who are eight-to-12 years-old and come in a variety of origins, ethnicities, faiths, and historical eras. They all come with a book written in the doll’s voice. Now, five dolls are honoring real-life heroes

The dolls are a celebration of the courageous and compassionate frontline heroes who, according to the website, have risked their lives during the coronavirus pandemic. “Whether you’re providing healthcare, keeping families stocked with food and supplies, or making sure cities keep running, we owe you a huge thanks.”

The doll line, owned by Mattel, asked families to nominate an outstanding hero as part of its American Girls Hero With Heart contest to honor essential workers that began in June, 2020. The contest was open to US residents. The families were asked to submit a photo and explain how their nominee is helping the community.

All five winners  received a custom one-of-a-kind doll in their heroes’ likenesses and a $200 American Girl gift card. But choosing the winners was not that easy.

"We had an amazing response with more than 1,000 nominations of really moving stories," said a company spokesperson. "Our criteria points of originality, being heartfelt in nature and fitting the contest theme helped us narrow it down, but truly every submission was moving and it's wonderful to hear of all the real-life community heroes around us."

One of the heroes chosen is April O'Quinn (39) who is a paramedic in Virginia. She contracted Covid-19 on the job and when she recovered, she went back to work caring for others according to CNN.

O'Quinn’s niece Lacey nominated her and said in her letter that O’Quinn was doing her job even though she lacked the proper protective equipment or disinfecting supplies. “When she was finally healed and released back to work, she didn't hesitate for one moment,” Lacey wrote, according to American Doll.

“It's a huge, huge honor to represent females in EMS,” O'Quinn told CNN. "People tend to forget the EMS providers and for this to be so huge now in our community," she said. "They are just absolutely loving it."

The other winners, who were all announced by the company on August 19, 2020 are:

Laurent, a pilot for Spirit Airlines who was nominated by his daughter. He volunteered to fly a team of American doctors to Haiti to help fight the pandemic and on the return flight he brought back stranded American citizens.

Pam is a teacher who was nominated by her students. She personally visited all of them with, “a smile, an encouraging sign, and a bag of books,” they wrote.

Xavier, a 17-year-old grocery store worker, was nominated by his sister for working five days a week throughout the pandemic even though he has asthma and is at higher risk.

Sarah is a caregiver who is feeding the homeless in her community. She was nominated by her granddaughter who hopes to become a surgeon when she grows up so she can help people with the same love as her grandmother.

At American Girl, we’ve always celebrated the idea of acting with courage and compassion,” Jamie Cygielman, general manager of American Girl said in the press release. 

“That’s why we’re proud to recognize these local heroes who all play critical roles in helping our friends, families and communities every day. It’s this kind of dedication and service that shows true strength of character.”

These people really are the unsung heroes of the pandemic and the recognition from American Doll was well deserved.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.