Deployed mom uses technology to keep in touch with son
By Maj. Ann Peru Knabe, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing
/ Published March 30, 2006
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- By Maj. Ann Peru Knabe
When SrA. Katie Pinar deployed to Southwest Asia on her first air expeditionary force rotation, the 440th Airlift Wing Reservist wanted to find a special way to keep in contact with her 2-year-old son, Zach.
“I knew I would miss him,” said Airman Pinar, who is deployed as a member of the 379th Expeditionary Mission Support Group. “And I was looking for a way for Zach to remember what mommy looked like and sounded like.”
She found the solution to her problem right on base. Another Air Force Reservist told Airman Pinar about Hearts Apart, a program that allows service members to record themselves on a DVD reading a book. The DVD is mailed back home to the United States for their children and loved ones to view.
The library in the desert has more than 200 children’s books to choose from, but Airman Pinar immediately spotted one of Zach’s favorite books, “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam Mabry.
“I couldn’t believe my luck,” she said. “I read this book to Zach every night before bed, and now I could send a DVD version home for him so he could continue to hear this story. ... and see me smiling at him, telling him I love him.”
The second book she read was “Just Mommy and Me” by Tara Jaye Monow. She also showed Zach a picture book called “Baby Faces.” Airman Pinar read each book in an animated voice and used lots of facial expressions.
“This makes it more entertaining for him,” she said. “And it’s how we read books back home.”
Airman Pinar knows the importance of maintaining communication and connections with her young son. She’s proud of her service and how she balances the responsibilities of parenting with the Air Force mission.
“I hope Zach looks back on my deployment some day and has fond memories of how we connected,” Airman Pinar said. “The story book readings will be a living memory of our deployment experience.”
(Major Knabe, a Reservist with the 440th AW at Gen. Mitchell International Airport Air Reserve Station, Wis., is deployed as chief of public affairs for the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing.)