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War creates family obstacles

The emotional “goodbyes” seem more common as loved ones leave their families to fight in Iraq. Home economics teacher, Sharon Scharf’s son-in-law, Jason Buchanan (Clovis High grad, ’96), was one of the thousands of soldiers who deployed on Jan. 3.

?This is his second deployment,? Scharf said. ?He?ll be there for at least a year, but he?ll come home at the end of summer for 10 days to rest and relax with his family.”

Scharf?s daughter, Hayley (Scharf) Buchanan, ’98, feels the absence of her husband.

?I miss always having him around,? Hayley said. ?When something exciting happens I cannot tell him first and I miss him at night. Keeping in contact with Jason is kind of hard where he’s stationed right now.”

Although Hayley lives in Ft. Stewart, Georgia, Scharf calls her daughter daily. Katie Couric featured the Georgia town in a news special in early January 2007.

?I have a friend at work whose husband is also in Iraq so we talk and comfort each other,? Hayley said. ?I am also part of the Family Readiness Group (FRG). They tell us what is going on in Iraq, because there are a lot of rumors about what really happens there.?

On Dec. 27, 2006, a Sesame Street special was shown on PBS entitled ?When deployed.? It was originally created for preschoolers’ who parents are in Iraq.

Elmo?s dad has been deployed to Iraq and the special displays the emotions of Elmo, as his dad gets ready to leave. The special also includes interviews with kids and their parents who are actually being deployed.

Although Hayley copes with Jason’s absence through phone calls and e-mails, their daughter, Jayden (3 years), seems to struggle.

?The first time Jason was deployed, my granddaughter was only 6 weeks old,? Scharf said. ?When he came back she didn?t know who he was and it took her a while to warm up to him. I made her a quilt with pictures of her and her dad so she would remember him.?

According to Scharf, Jason’s New Year Resolution was that he would return alive to his family for the short summer visit and when he returns for leave, January 2008.

According to Global Security, as of mid-November 2006, there were approximately 152,000 US troops deployed to Iraq.

Other students at school also have friends and close family members in Iraq.

?My cousin left on Christmas day to go to Iraq,? Victoria Ball, ?08, said. ?He is coming back in September to get married. It is scary for me thinking about what could happen to him and it is even harder on his fianc

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