Videotaped Reading Brings Seabee Families Together

Pat Garin is serving his country thousands of miles away with construction battalion 74. Until April the only way his kids Delaney and Sean will see him is on a video tape reading favorite stories like Go Dog Go. "They love reading stories and to have their daddy read the stories to them while he's been gone, it's just been great," says his wife Kelsie.

James Murphy's family thinks so too. He reads the Barenstein Bears Christmas book to his kids.  They've watched the tape before. But Murphy's family says that just means they get to see more of him. His daughter, Amber, says,"I was happy." Wife Jeanine Murphy says, "It helps them to better understand why it's so important when dad is so far away and he's still concerned whether they're reading and learning."

The batalion's commanding officer and his wife have no children, but Cindy Maurer says the uniting through reading program keeps up morale and spirits. "It keeps them connected and in touch with their service members that's deployed as well as promotes reading for children so we just felt like it was a win win for this group," says Maura.

The families agree. They say each new tape keeps them closer to dad while he's half a world away.

This is the first time the Gulfport Seabees have participated in the Family Literacy Foundation Program. The navy started it during the Persian Gulf War.  There are 670 members of the Gulfport Construction Batalion. About 60% of them are reading via videotape.

Marcia Hill