875th Family Update

NOVEMBER 14, 2006 -- POSTED AT 10:00 P.M. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- The soldiers deployed in Iraq with the 875th are far from home now, but the community support group that headed up "Operation Freedom Furlough" is still busy here at home. K-8 news was at their monthly meeting Tuesday night and was able to talk to a few families to find out how the deployment is going so far, 2 months after they departed for Iraq.

Sergeant 1st Class Todd Kirk is one of the many husbands deployed in Iraq with the 875th Engineering Battalion. Kirk has been in the military for 18 years now and his wife Wendy says over the years, the deployments have actually improved for the families back home.

"We do get to communicate which has never really happened. We've never been to communicate even weekly. Those emails that we do get are just wonderful, so it's been a first. Technology has been a great thing. It's really improved things for us back home," says Wendy Kirk who serves on the 875th Community Support Council.

Amber Farmer's husband, Bobby is part of the Bravo Company out of Marked Tree and Harrisburg. She says so far they've been pretty lucky with communication.

"I talk to him at least once every other day and we communicate through email three of four times a week. We have web cams and we try to do that as often as we can," says Amber Farmer.

But although they do get to communicate, she says things can still be tough for a family separated by the war. Farmer says when they do talk, they try to keep the conversation positive.

"We don't talk too much about it. If I ask a question he'll tell me, but he doesn't usually volunteer anything. He's pretty secretive about what goes on and I don't watch the news. I don't want to know basically. As long as he's safe, that's all that matters," says Farmer.

Before the troops of the 875th were deployed to Iraq, the people of Region 8 did their part to raise money for "Operation Freedom Furlough." But many are asking, what can we do now to continue to show support?

"The most important thing for the community to do right now is to mail. They want letters more than anything. Getting packages, whether small or a letter from a child in school or a family member back home, that is the most important communication to them," says Wendy Kirk.

If you would like to send a care package or even a letter to one of the soldier's serving with the 875th, contact the local ASU Armory at 870-910-7015.