Local News

Webcam Brings Soldiers Closer To Families For Holidays

Posted December 21, 2004

— Christmas is just a few days away. Thousands of local troops will not be home for the holidays, but some are getting the next best thing.

Stevan Whitehurst could not wait to get to the

Airborne and Special Operations Museum

in Fayetteville. Her husband left for Iraq a few months ago. On Tuesday, she got to talk to him face-to-face. The museum set up a webcam to allow soldiers and their loved ones to catch up on the latest news.

"We were pretty excited. We stayed up pretty late," she said.

Shantella Ross has not seen her husband since November. It will be the third year they will be apart for the holidays.

"To see him and not be able to touch him, that's really hard," she said.

Having a chance to see your loved one overseas for the first time in a long time can get emotional, not just for those in the United States.

"I talk to my wife just about every other day, but actually seeing her, it's different. You can't even explain it," said Sgt. Jerry Ross.

Many of the families did not discuss anything too serious. The recent blast in Mosul never came up. Instead, Whitehurst and her husband focused on their new baby while Ross and her husband laughed about Christmas.

Freedom Calls, a nonprofit group from New York, helped set up the webcam program. The organization goes around the country connecting families with their service-members. They may return to the Fort Bragg area early next year.

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