USO connects troops to family with 'United Through Reading'

Arizona National Guard Airman 1st Class Wendell Van Duyne reads to his kids.

He's proud to serve his country.

"I feel like a superhero when I put on this uniform," said Airman 1st Class Wendell Van Duyne. "Just my mannerisms when I put on the uniform. I walk differently. My tone, everything feels different."

Called to duty as a member of the Arizona National Guard, with the 161st Air Refueling Wing, he's preparing to deploy overseas.

But first, he's working on a very important project.

He's reading a story to his 4-year-old daughter and twin 2-year-old boys, with a little help from USO Arizona.

Armed with a video camera and books for all ages, volunteers with the USO record these special moments.

The goal is to keep deployed service members connected with their kids.

It's called United Through Reading.

"Having this recording that the child can listen to over and over is the perfect way to keep them connected to their mom or dad while they're deployed," said Elena Finelli, a USO Arizona volunteer.

For Airman Van Duyne, reading to his kids in this recording took on a much bigger meaning.

"Eyes kind of teared up a bit and it was way more special of a moment than I ever considered it was going to be," he said. "Those little things that we take for granted. You know, birthdays and just all the little things that are important, you know what I mean? It all came to me in that moment."

Even though they'll be apart during his deployment, the Van Duynes are proud to serve our country as a military family.

"I think it goes beyond myself,” said Van Duyne. “I think it goes beyond my family. It's just the whole family of people who wear uniforms just like this one and the sacrifices that they made."

As he finishes reading the story, he added a special message to the recording, so his wife and kids can hear it every day.

"I just want you guys to know that I love you so much and I miss you dearly. I'll be home soon. I miss you."

Copyright 2016 KPNX


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment