Families left behind need support, too

February 9, 2005

Ft. Stewart-- Specialist Charles Lancaster from Cordele will soon be driving Bradley Armored Fighting Vehicles in Iraq. It's a dangerous job, but one he's ready for. "Just escorting like trucks and stuff like that. I'm kinda looking forward to it."

He joined the National Guard after one of our country's darkest days. "Ever since 9-11, I don't know, it's just, something made me want to help defend our country."

And now he wants to help bring some light to the people of Iraq. "I worry about it, but I know I got a mission to do, and I try to stay focused."

The most difficult part of that mission isn't the hard work or the danger, it's leaving Cole and Chase and Sandra back home. "Being away from them is my hardest thing right now."

While he's away, his wife will hold down the fort, almost literally. Sandra is the Family Assistance Coordinator at the Cordele Armory. "We're here to support the families be a contact person for the families while their soldier's deployed," she says.

She'll help families get the benefits their entitled to, give them information they need, but she'll also provide a shoulder to cry on. "It's been hard for me since he's been gone, but I also know that it's hard for other families and that's why I get up and come to work every morning because I know that there are other families out there that need me."

And she needs them too. "With us pulling together, the wives and the mothers and the fathers pulling together, we'll get through it." said Sandra.

Sandra and her sons already miss the man they call their hero. "He's a great guy. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He loves his family, but he also knows that he has a job to do."

And so do the families and friends and strangers back on the home front. "Just be supportive and pray for us," said Charles.

Pray that this soldier, this husband and father and all the others like him will have happy family reunions when their jobs are done.

posted at 5:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com