July 25, 2014
Lt. Col. Davina Hunt-Bare came home from Afghanistan to a surprise from family and neighbors.
She returned to her Albemarle country house Friday evening to find a yard hung with yellow balloons, dotted with flags, and topped off with a banner reading, "Welcome home from Afghanistan Lt. Colonel Bare." Her children and neighbors ran through the yard to meet her and her husband after their drive from the airport.
"We're just so excited for the family and for her to be able to return home safely. And the fact that she's served her country. And is still serving her country," said neighbor Mabel Morris, who welcomed home the soldier along with her husband.
The U.S. Army soldier was deployed for four months on this tour. Though not her longest stay, it was her longest since her children were born.
Letters and regular use of Skype helped the family stay in touch during those months.
"We Skyped everyday. So, I would get up at 4 o'clock in the morning because there's an eight and a half hour time difference. And so right before they were going to bed then I would Skype," said Lt. Col. Hunt-Bare.
"My husband would send his school papers through the mail. Just so I was a part of the family still."
"For us, it's probably her last deployment and it was my first deployment of us being married," said husband Danny Bare. The two married about two years ago. "Kinda worked through it. We did fine. The kids and I did well holding the fort here and we're glad she's home now."
The family says neighbors helped ease the deployment.
"Knowing that people were helping my family, I could focus on what I was doing down range. While you're helping other people in a foreign country, for me, if my family wasn't taken care of, I couldn't concentrate. So, I didn't have that as an issue," said Hunt-Bare.
She added that members of her church also helped. They and neighbors mailed school supplies to help her on a project assisting Afghan widows and orphans.
"Very supportive. Overall people, they wanted to know how they could support. Not just me but other soldiers who were deployed. It was definitely an honor that you knew the people at home were helping you, praying for you, and just encouraging you to do your mission as a soldier. And that's reassuring."
Her neighbors had helped her kids make dinner, including a quiche and a chocolate cake with red, white, and blue sprinkles.
"Our neighbors are awesome," said daughter Dasha.
Lt. Col. Hunt-Bare has served in the army for 17 years. During her trip to Afghanistan, she worked as an administrative officer, mainly on morale building duties for soldiers and military intelligence.
"Definitely really dedicated to her job. Really dedicated," said her son Devin. "She doesn't, like, just go through it just to get it finished. She goes a bit beyond."
Dasha said she was excited her mom was home, particularly to spend time together.
"It's really exciting," said Dasha. "We could just kind of spend our days at home or go out and play. And I'm excited to tell her that we have a new laser tag."
"I'm just very grateful for Davina to be home. I appereciate so much people that serve," said Danny. "I have a new understanding of what it takes to be a part of a military family. The effort that requires from all family members. I'm glad that she's home and safe and prayers with people still overseas."