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Izzy Dolls

Heroes Remember

Well god bless him, Mark Isfeld, nick- named Izzy. A troubled youth, joined the military, straightened himself out, went to Gulf War One at the tail end doing the most dangerous work, mine-lifting. Then with the Canadian Combat Engineers he, he was in Croatia on the first rotation, second rotation, sorry, and they were in Croatia and his team was clearing track into a Croatian farmer house so the farmer could till his fields. And they’d done about half of it and they came back the next day and some sob had booby-trapped with a trip wire and his colleagues were in the vehicle. He was walking along beside it and he was killed instantly. Now before, or during his time in that area, his mother would knit these dolls. The little dolls about yay big out of wool and she would send them to Izzy and he’d hand them out on patrols. Cause he’d see kids, as we all did over there. After he was killed you’d think that the whole thing would, that would be the end of it but no, Carol Isfeld and Brian, her husband, they continued to produce these dolls and then people caught on and started to be mobilized across the country where, I don’t know, it’s over a thousand mothers now knitting these dolls. Brown, black, you know whatever colour you want. Whatever country they’re going to and we at ICROSS, International Community for the Relief and Starvation and Suffering, we were sending a lot of medical supplies in those day to Kenya, we now do it to Malawi. And so when a container, we wouldn’t use bubble wrap, we’d use Izzy dolls as packing material and a significant number of kids who die of AIDS are buried with the doll because they have no worldly possessions whatsoever.

Major-General MacKenzie provides a background to the creation of the Izzy Doll campaign and his involvement in ensuring these dolls are received by children all over the world.

Lewis MacKenzie

Major-General Lewis Mackenzie was born April 30, 1940 in Truro, Nova Scotia and raised in nearby Princeport. He is a graduate of Xavier Junior College, Sydney, Cape Breton and the University of Manitoba. He is a retired general, author and media commentator. General MacKenzie is famous for establishing and commanding Sector Sarajevo’s part of the United Nations Protection Force UNPROFOR in Yugoslavia in 1992. As a result he became the only Canadian, military or civilian, to be awarded a second Meritorious Service Cross. After his many years of service, General MacKenzie retired from the Canadian Forces in 1993. His personal account of his military experiences are written in a book he wrote, “Peacekeeper, Road to Sarajevo”. As well, MacKenzie wrote his second book, “Soldiers Made Me Look Good”. Since retirement, MacKenzie is a regular commentator and in demand as a lecturer in leadership. Major-General MacKenzie continues his role as a leader and a positive influence for the Canadian Youth.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Lewis MacKenzie
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Canadian Regiment

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