JONESBORO, AR -- Since their departure last July the size of the 875th family has grown. The Dean family of Jonesboro welcomed their newest member about two weeks ago.
Zaniel Dean was born on Monday May 21. Dad lieutenant Tim Dean of the 875th Engineer Battalion
wasn't scheduled to get home for two more weeks and didn't get to be here when little zaniel made his entry into the world.
"It was not fun at all sitting over there waiting for him to be born. I tried to call every two hours just to keep an update on what was going," said Dean.
Wife Ashley, two-year-old Evie and baby Zaniel met dad at the airport.
"It was amazing. His eyes lit up and Zaniel took right to him. He didn't know his voice or anything because he hasn't been here but it was amazing," said Dean.
Dean is on a two week leave from Iraq. He is scheduled to go back at the end of next week.
"I think this time will be the toughest, just having two babies. I've gotten used to raising one by myself, now raising two by myself is going to be difficult but he'll be back in a few months," said Ashley Dean.
Both parents say Evie is a big help with her little brother and will be a big help to mom while dad is serving our country.
Thousands of babies are born each year while a parent serves over seas. Zaniel is one of several 875th babies born since the troops have been deployed.
"I know that there have been some others. They tease me because he's the 'Operation Freedom Furlough' baby," said Dean.
The 875th soldiers are expected to return from their deployment in September.
"We're all ready. We were ready to come home as soon as we got off that plane," said Tim Dean.
"That'll be the best day of my life watching him get off that bus knowing he's home for good and he's not going to have to go back for a while at least," said Ashley Dean.