Families Reunited via Video Phone

A picture is worth a thousand words, and some area families got both today as they spoke to and saw their loved ones for the first time since march. That's when 12 members of the US Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah, in Iraq to help rebuild, were reunited with their families via video phone. WTOC was at their Savannah headquarters as loved ones saw each other for the first time in months. But what made this video teleconference a little different is these men are civilians who actually to volunteered to go to Iraq.

Maj. Mark Cawley saw his four-month-old daughter for the first time since she was just two weeks old. His wife Heather and all three of their daughters have waited for months to get a good look at Daddy.

"It's been tough," she said. "We have three babies at home and the biggest thing is missing him. The day-to-day stuff gets easier with time, but we miss him really bad."

Everyone in the room has missed their loved ones since they left for Iraq in March. But this video teleconference has made the separation a little easier to bear on both sides of the world.

"I can't wait for him to come back and give him a hug," said Neils Froelicher. "He's so alive, that's the part I miss about him the most," added sister Britta.

Neils and Britta's father is a civilian who, like all these men, actually volunteered to go to Iraq.

"They all feel they can make a contribution. They volunteered and it makes me proud that they have improved the conditions in Iraq," said Col. Roger Gerber, district commander for Savannah.

While these men are improving the conditions in Iraq, the biggest worry for family members is getting their loved ones home safely. The picture was fuzzy and the sound delayed, but no one seemed to care. They were just happy to see their loved ones, all of whom are expected to return from Iraq by the end of July.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com