Kimberly Henry shows her husband, John, their new baby girl, Kelsi. It’s an otherwise typical event, except the fact John is a U.S. Marine stationed more than seven-thousand miles away, in iraq.
“She looks like a little sumo wrestler.”
John and Kimberly are one of the first families at theTwentynine Palms Marine Base to use video teleconferencing to see and talk with each other. It’s made possible by a non-profit organization called the “Freedom Calls Foundation,” which helps bring family members together. The program began five years ago. But, they started using atTwentynine Palms a month ago.
“Tt’s pretty awesome for me to get to see them. Most people don’t get to do this. I guess I’m the first one in the battalion, I didn’t realize it, so it’s really good to get to see my daughter and my wife,” says John.
“At first, I was surprised I’d never heard of this program before and then when I got a phone call from them explaining it. I called back and he was telling me my husband requested it. I was actually surprised. I got a little emotional because he was thinking about the baby, wanting to see her so,” says Kimberly.
“It was only 15,20 years ago you have to wait for a ship to return and you relied so much on air mail. We didn’t have Internet back then so our sailors would be gone for six to eight month deployments and there would be no communication at all,” U.S. Navy Nurse Corps Denise Johnson says.
John comes home in about six months. But, that’s a long time for Kimberly, who’s glad she got to see him, even if only on camera. It makes her love him and miss him even more.