Military Families Speak To Troops In Iraq

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

November 12, 2005

There was a loud roar over at Scott Stadium this afternoon, with fans screaming to support the Cavaliers, but troops serving in Iraq were also getting support.

Loud screams, and big support as family members of those serving in Iraq watched messages from those they love play out on the 'jumbo-tron' for everyone to see.

Seated at Scott Stadium, side by side with fans of the University of Virginia Cavaliers, family members of those serving in Iraq kept an eye on the 'Jumbo-tron'.

Mothers, fathers, children, and spouses were able to see their service-member on the big screen thanks to UVA's Office of Telemedicine and the organization Freedom Calls.

"We're excited. We're happy to do it. We want to do it," said Eugene Sullivan, of the UVA Office of Telemedicine.

While short messages played throughout the game, families were allowed one-on-one time in a separate room, to have a conversation through a high speed data line creating a video remote.

"He looked pretty much the same. It was really good just to see him, just to kind of see where he is, and see him in uniform, and kind of see where he's working and everything," said Leigh Feather, wife of U.S. Army Captain Scott Feathers serving in Iraq.

Joining Leigh was her mom and dad, who enjoyed the experience of talking to the Army Captain Scott Feathers, almost as much as she did.

"You almost felt like Scott was in the room. I miss his laugh so much, and it was almost like he was there with us," said Sharon Lumadue, mother of Leigh Feathers.

"It seemed like ten minutes. I mean it just, whew, the time went by," said Ed Lumadue, father of Leigh Feathers.

The conversation beamed from Charlottesville, up into the sky, and back to Iraq surprisingly went a little longer than planned.

"I was like wow, this is awesome, we got so much time. It was very, very good, it was more than I could have expected," added Feathers.

The excitement didn't stop there. Attending the UVA game against Georgia Tech, the Feathers along with other military families unfurled the United States flag on the field, in honor of troops serving overseas.

The opportunity for Leigh was not only special because she got to see her husband Scott in real-time, but because he was also able to see her, and that was even more special because Leigh showed Scott how she looked carrying their first child.

If you have a family member serving in Iraq, and would like to connect with them through satellite, give UVA's Office of Telemedicine a call at 434-924-5470.

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