Savannah Woman Finds Images of Relief Worker Son - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/11/05

Savannah Woman Finds Images of Relief Worker Son

Sarah Banks was surprised to find the photos. Sarah Banks was surprised to find the photos.
From www.navy.mil From www.navy.mil
From www.navy.mil From www.navy.mil

Thousands of relief workers are trying to help the survivors of the tsunami, including a man in the military from right here at home. And his mother is getting a rare opportunity to see her son in action.

Sarah Banks of Savannah has the Navy's official website to thank. While the crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln works off the coast of Indonesia, thousands of friends and family members back home wonder how their loved ones are doing.

Sarah can just look online, where last week, almost a dozen pictures of Lt. Mark Banks showed up, giving her visual evidence of his hard work in Indonesia. "I was stunned," she said. "Absolutely stunned. I just couldn't believe it."

Lt. Banks is a medic on the Lincoln who's been spending long hours helping people recover from the tsunami. He's not been able to call home often, but a few days ago he did manage to talk to his mother briefly.

"He didn't believe me," Sarah told us. "I told him, 'I found a picture of you with a little girl and it just broke my heart.' He said, 'Well, they should have taken a picture of the child, not me. I'm just doing what I'm supposed to be doing.'"

Just a few days later, Sarah got yet another surprise peek at her son, while getting ready to drink a cup of morning tea. "Put the kettle on and came into the living room and picked up my New York Times from the coffee table, opened it up, and there's my child."

Sarah Banks says she's grateful for the opportunities to see the good things her son is doing, but feels for other families who's loved ones aren't as fortunate. "I would hope that people who get really bad news don't get it that way first."

The most touching picture for her is of Lt. Banks simply looking away. She says she can tell from the look on his face that he's seen more than anyone needs to.

Lt. Banks is already supposed to be back in the States, but with the devastation in Indonesia, his mother doesn't know when to expect him back realistically.

A lot of people heard about the helicopter crash off of the USS Lincoln Sunday. Sarah says her son was not on board and the military says there were only minor injuries for the people who were.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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