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Soldier "Meets" New Daughter from Iraq

January 29, 2008
Soldier 'meets' new daughter from Iraq 'Freedom Calls' partners with Exempla to connect Iraq, Lafayette By Brittany Anas (Contact) Sunday, January 20, 2008 Photo by Cliff Grassmick Amee Tanksley, holds son Dylan, 2, and newborn, Alyson Rayne, as they talk to Marine Cpl. Nick Jenkins, who is stationed in Iraq. Jenkins saw his newborn daughter for the first time Saturday morning through a satellite connection set up by "Freedom Calls," an organization that worked with staff at Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette. Photo by Cliff Grassmick Marine Cpl. Nick Jenkins gets his first glimpse of his day-old daughter, Alyson Rayne, and talks with his family through a satellite connection from Iraq."I miss them more than anything," he said. Photo by Cliff Grassmick Amee Tanksley, holds Dylan, 2, and Alyson Rayne while talking to their father, Marine Cpl. Nick Jenkins, who is stationed in Iraq. Mike Macmann, right, of Exempla, had just set up the satellite connection. LAFAYETTE -- Marine Cpl. Nick Jenkin's face appeared on a projector screen, and at that moment for 2-year-old Dylan, Iraq didn't seem so far away. Dylan chattered away Saturday morning, filling his father in on all of life's big events. He's been potty training, and mom gives him M&Ms.; He misses and loves his dad, who he told to come home safe. And soon. STORY TOOLS E-mail story Comments iPod friendly Printer friendly More Boulder & County News Chase suspect won't be charged for two weeks Suspect arrested twice in Denver shortly after Chase's killing Wyoming backlog stalled Chase DNA test Share and Enjoy [?] Share your video, photos and news tips. Oh, and there's a new member in the family who will be waiting. Dylan's 6-pound baby sister was bundled in a blanket next to him, wearing a soft pink cap. Dylan would really like to hold baby Alyson Rayne, if his mom would just hand her over. In the maternity ward at Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center, a camera and projector were set up so Jenkins, who is stationed in Iraq, could see his newborn daughter for the first time. Hospital staffers worked with "Freedom Calls," an organization that sets up satellite connections between soldiers serving overseas, and their families at home in the United States. Kim Kobel, a spokeswoman for Exempla, said the satellite video linking a soldier with his family is a first for the hospital. There are occasional simpler video conferences between family members in the States. Jenkins had been calling his fiancée, Amee Tanksley, on Friday afternoon while she was in labor. He called right as she was delivering, and heard his daughter's first scream. On Saturday, he saw his family together on Tanksley's hospital bed. "She's beautiful," he said. "I want to hold her." Jenkins, who is on his third deployment, said he expects to return to his Arvada home in a couple of months. "I miss them more than anything," he said. Tanksley looked at the Web camera and told her fiancé that their daughter has been good, and has been taking lots of snoozes. "I wonder where she gets that from?" Jenkins joked. Tanksley -- who was surrounded by television cameras and family -- said it's been hard having her fiancé deployed, but well worth the sacrifice. "We believe in what he's fighting for," said Tanksley, who was also deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Army in 2004 as a mental-health specialist. Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or anasb@dailycamera.com.