MARILYN HAGERTY: Keeping in touch keeps loved ones close during deployment
If you could have one singer or band to serenade you every night, who would it be? If you knew your spouse in high school, would you have dated him or her? If you could have one free service in your home every day, what would it be? . . . These a...
If you could have one singer or band to serenade you every night, who would it be?
If you knew your spouse in high school, would you have dated him or her?
If you could have one free service in your home every day, what would it be?
. . . These are the kind of questions a group of friends discuss Sundays. Through their sessions online by e-mail, they keep in contact though they are scattered around the country. And they have been keeping in touch with Ross Free who has spent the past six months in Afghanistan.
Free is an Air Force veterinarian who is due back this week at Grand Forks Air Base. Waiting for him - counting the minutes - are his wife, Amy, and 3-year-old son, Charlie.
Sixteen friends who have been helping Ross Free make time pass while he is half a world away are a group who met in Charlotte, N.C. One of them is Matt Klug, formerly of Grand Forks, and now living in San Francisco.
Klug says the group has enjoyed keeping in touch by Sunday e-mail sessions. They have agreed to continue keeping in touch when Ross Free is back at Grand Forks Air Base. He thinks it might inspire others to start weekly communication with servicemen overseas … or with family and loved ones at home.
Keeping in touch has been the key for Amy Free and little Charlie as they mark time for Ross to come home this week. They have been talking daily through FaceTime, which is like Skype for an iPhone. The weekly roundup of friends online has helped to keep up acquaintances.
But Amy, who is a professional photographer, says the long winter with her husband overseas has been challenging.
It’s hard, she says, being so far away from family. She makes the days pass by exploring Grand Forks - spending time at Choice Health & Fitness Center and eating pancakes at a truck stop in Grand Forks. Sometimes, she and Charlie go bowling.
When it’s prayer time, Charlie turns his thoughts to Daddy.
And Amy Free has come to believe there are lessons to be learned during a deployment. She has found strength in enjoying the present and keeping busy.
This, she says, has taught her to be content with the present - and not wish time away.
There are friends on Grand Forks Air Base. There are friends in town.
They have helped mark time as Amy and Charlie waited for Ross to come home.
Matt Klug says the chain of responses from friends going back and forth every Sunday afternoon has brought them closer. They have agreed to continue their Sunday afternoon connection after Ross returns this week.
There are personal messages traveling back and forth. Then, for fun, there are the questions, such as:
If you spoke English with a foreign accent, what would it be?
What is the best live musical performance you ever have attended?
What’s the strangest place you ever spent a night?
Reach Hagerty at email@example.com or (701) 772-1055 .