Special call from Iraq for one south Georgia family - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Special call from Iraq for one south Georgia family

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May 16, 2008

Sylvester--After a tiring and dangerous day on the battlefield, many service men and women in Iraq would love the opportunity to see their family.

One lucky georgia soldier got that opportunity on Friday.

The Freedom Calls Foundation built a video conference network that allows military families to stay connected during war time.

Troops serving overseas now have a live video link back to family and friends in the states.

Thanks to a partnership with Freedom Calls, the local cable company and the Worth County School System, one south Georgia family got to experience it with a family member serving in Iraq.

"This comes at a good time she's really getting home sick," said Jodi Odden, Stephanie's sister-in-law.

Staff sargent Stephanie Odden, teleconferenced from Baghdad with her in-laws on Friday.

She described it in two words.

"It's awesome, it's awesome considering we don't see each other that often you know being far away I think this is awesome."

"Video teleconferencing is just like video and a telephone call combined it's run over the internet, as long as there's internet service you can do video teleconfrencing," said Beau Sherman, South GA Government Services Authority.

The staff sargent's family members are grateful for the opportunity.

"It's going to be really nice to see her and know that she's safe, and know that she's in good health, and be able to talk to her I'm sure it's going to raise her moral for the next coming weeks I know she's counting down leaving it'll just be nice to say hi and give her a taste of home," said Jodi Odden.

The opportunity came for this family when an e-mail went out asking if any faculty or staff wanted an opportunity to test the new system at Worth County High School.

"We started with someone that was a teacher here on staff, we're probably going to try to expand that to all over Sylvester and Worth County if we can."

The technology lends up to an hour of virtual time with loved ones, and even your family can have the same opportunity.

"Name, rank, and location, that's all we need to know, we work with freedom calls on these to set up the time and date, and we do the test calls and we make sure everything is up and going before the families come in," said Sherman.

And the joy on the faces of families who get the opportunity says it all.

Military personnel deployed overseas and their families can use the network 24-hours per day free of charge.

Freedom Calls is funded 100 percent by private donations.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=FreedomCallFoundation/WJ

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