These Long Island men have missed out on family meals, memories and milestones while serving abroad in different branches of the armed services. But each has found ways to stay connected to his loved ones, despite the distance.
1. His children can’t often see him, so Sgt. 1st Class Robert Reidel recorded his own book so that his daughter, Anaisa, and his 14-month-old son, Anthony, can always hear his voice. His wife and children hold a copy of another family favorite — “Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops.”
2. Brian O’Keeffe holds a photo of his son, Ryan, who is currently deployed in Japan. The two use Facebook Messenger and a Marine support Facebook group for deployed families to connect thousands of miles away — a space to share photos, videos, messages and updates.
3. Neil Theisen with his family after returning from deployment. His wife, Joanne, a preschool teacher, had her students and children prepare care packages for Theisen and his entire team while he was away. “Regardless of how many electronic means we have to talk and text, getting that care package from home, that physical package, there’s nothing like that . . . physical connection to being home,” Theisen said. (Photo credit: Barry Sloan)