Can you see me now?
By Sgt.1st Class David Moore, JFHQ-NJ/PA; photo by Kryn
With the image from Afghanistan
of her sister Sgt. Katherine Bendel in the background Angela Duiring
shares a laugh with their dad Gary Hartman, grandfather John Diviny
and mom Karen Hartman. The families participated in a Video Tele-Conference
with the Soldiers of the 50th Personnel Services Battalion and 250th
Personnel Services Detachment at the new Distributed Learning Center
at the Lawrenceville Armory on Oct. 8.
The emotional distance was lessened for family members of Soldiers serving
in Afghanistan when the New Jersey National Guard Distributed Learning
leaders recently beamed their video teleconference signal from the Lawrenceville
Armory to Afghanistan.
More than 30 family members of Soldiers from the 50th Personnel Services
Battalion and 250th Personnel Services Detachment saw dads, wives, children
and grandparents that included ranging from news from home to how’s
life in Afghanistan.
When Capt. Lowell Jenkins saw his seven-month-old daughter, Sidney, his
emotion spilled over to happiness as the baby seemed to recognize him
when she reached for the monitor screen.
Sidney was a premature baby born just before her father departed for his
Global War on Terrorism duty. But the family had stressful times as their
newborn had to undergo two surgeries.
The Guard’s Family Readiness Group partnered with the Guard’s
Distance Learning Center team for the video reunions in October.
“We can’t lessen the physical distance, but we can shorten
the emotional distance between the Soldier and the family,” said
Lt. Col. (Ret.) John Guarascio, area coordinator for the Distance Learning.
The ability to use the distributive learning center's technology is a
way of bringing the homefront closer to the Soldier, Guarascio said.
For the captain’s wife, Tangies, the chance for mother and daughter
to see their loved one was equally as emotional.
“While, you can here his voice over the telephone and e-mail pictures
back and forth, you get to see him and he looks so happy when he saw us.
It really is an added comfort to see him and have all the interaction
with each other,” she said.