GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Two hospital employees in Gulfport recently used their technical skills to help a deployed airman and his pregnant wife. The men had no idea that their act of kindness would earn them several military honors. They received their awards during a surprise ceremony Tuesday.
The newest member of the 255th Air Control Squadron family is five-month-old Temperance Bynum. When she arrived in this world on August 17, her dad Drew Bynum was serving a six month deployment in southwest Asia.
"It was pretty hard, because this is my first child and he left on Mother's Day so it made it even harder. On top of that he wasn't going to be here three months after she was born," said Destiny Bynum.
That's when two employees of Memorial Hospital at Gulfport agreed to help out. Systems Analyst Tim Moseley and Director of Information Systems Ron Hedges set up a video conference so Drew Bynum could be a part of his daughter's birth.
"As soon as I had her, he got to see her. And before I went into the OR, he talked to me the whole time. It was almost like he was there," said Destiny Bynum.
For doing their part to support the military mission, leaders with the 255th and the Mississippi Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve surprised both men with certificates of appreciation, squadron coins, and the Seven Seals Award.
"I didn't think I needed all this recognition for something that I did. It just seemed like the right thing to do," said Moseley. "I was really surprised. I thought I was going to a meeting."
"It's one of the things that we do to support the people who defend the country," said Hedges.
Both men personally know the sacrifices our military members face and the family moments they often miss. Hedges is a veteran who served in the U.S. Marines, and Moseley is a member of the Army National Guard.
One day, baby Temperance will learn how these men helped make her birth day a memorable family experience.
"There are pictures around where he's actually looking at her on Skype, a picture of her and him, and it was kind of emotional seeing that," said Destiny Bynum.
"That was awesome! We don't get to do that enough. If there's one thing I could say is that we love being able to do this, because we need the community to know that we rely on their support in being able to do our jobs more effectively," said Major Jeff Wyatt, 255th Air Control Squadron Chief of Maintenance.
About 100 members of the squadron came home last November. During their deployment, two other babies were born at different hospitals and their dads also got to see their newborns via video conferencing.