We see a lot of the heartwarming homecomings when military men and women reunite with their families after long deployments overseas. They're emotional and beautiful, and we wonder how they're able to make such a sacrifice. While nothing makes it easy, families do find ways to stay in touch and keep that bond though miles separate them. Coast Guard officer Gerald Orellana and his family provide a unique and heartwarming example.
According to a story at the Huffington Post, Orellana's daughter, Evelyn, gave him her prized stuffed teddy bear when he was about to leave for his deployment to the Arctic. Her mom, Irene, said Evelyn didn't want him to be lonely. "She knew that she and I would have each other, but Gerald wouldn't have our family."
So Gerald set out with "Evelynbear" in his suitcase, which is sweet enough. But it gets even sweeter.
Gerald didn't just keep the bear packed away in his suitcase and take her out once in awhile when no one was looking. He actually took Evelynbear on adventures with him, then sent pictures back to his wife and daughter to show just how much fun she was having.
There are pictures of the bear on the ship, in the snow, and in a cigar shop. She even has a uniform! Since Gerald will reportedly be deployed for the rest of year, we can only imagine what else they'll see her do. It's such a sweet and simple way for the family to share the experiences together even though they're worlds apart.
Nothing can make it painless to not have a parent there for the day-to-day activities and milestones, but things like this help ease the pain a bit.
What unique ways have you seen military family members keep in touch?
Image via Ben Sutherland/Flickr