(KLFY) Families of the soldiers with the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are anxiously awaiting their return from deployment; two of those soldiers are in a unique situation.
Not having a parent with them for nearly a year can be difficult on a child.
For one Louisiana family, both parents are serving in the Guard.
They explained the challenges and how they have been able to stay connected with their boys, “So in 2010 we both deployed to the same location in Iraq and we are back here again.”
Sergeant First Class Casey Zahn and Sergeant First Class Jaimie Zahn are in Iraq with the 256th Tiger Brigade.
The couple has been separated from their two boys, 13-year-old Cayden and 7-year-old Landen as a result.
Jaimie says, “Honestly, I don’t think for kids there’s anything you can do to actually get them prepared.”
Friends and family stepped in to help while the couple is gone, especially their mothers, “She (Casey’s mother) is within five minutes of our house. My mom moved into our house to help keep the boys where they don’t have to be without their friends they had before and so they could stay in the schools they’re in now.”
Advances in technology, they say, have made the separation much easier to stay connected to their sons, “A lot of FaceTime calls. a lot of FaceTime calls! The little one especially loves Facebook Messenger because he can do the little filters. He gets a kick out of that.”
The youngest had a difficult time right after Jaimie and Casey left in the fall of last year, but Casey says he is much better. “He’s chugging right along now and he’s counting down the days until we get home.”
Both boys are involved in sports, so the Zahns can participate virtually.
“My little one has gotten real heavy into baseball, so we’ve been able to get videos and if we are able to, with the time difference, we try to do a FaceTime while they’re at practice. And the older one is getting into football and that’s starting to ramp up for the junior high. We get pictures and videos of all that as well.”
Casey says they hope the time they are spending apart from their sons will help them all grow, “Biggest thing is how to be strong. You’re not always going to have somebody there for you, They might be at work, whatever, so you got to be strong and that separation time apart just makes everyone grow stronger and closer.”
On the flip side, Jaimie and Casey do find comfort in being together in Iraq.