Tough Christmas for families missing loved ones serving our country


It's Tara Crowder's first Christmas without her daughter Emily.

Emily, 20, is serving in the Marine Corps and stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. Mom and daughter enjoyed a quick Skype call on Christmas morning.

"You know, it's weird not having family to come home to," Emily told her mom.

"Don't make me cry," Tara answered.

It's not been easy for Tara, who lives in Goshen. Between her and her husband Jason, the two have six kids and kids' spouses serving in the military.

But Emily's the youngest of them. She's Tara's baby.

"This year, this is the first time she hasn't been here. It feels like half my family's been here. It's kind of hard," Tara said. "She's so much like me I feel like I'm missing part of me without her being here."

Emily will be coming back home in late January for her formal wedding ceremony, Tara said.In Osceola, Jan Wilson has all four of her kids with her. But it's the family's first Christmas without their dad, Kurt, who's an army intelligence officer stationed in Germany.

"They just, say, 'Well, how much longer 'til he comes home?' and 'When is dad coming home?'" Jan said.

Fortunately, the family will be reunited soon. Jan and the children are moving to Germany at the beginning of the year.

"We are lucky that this is a short separation," Jan said. "It just happened to be at a time when most families are not separated."

So for just a little while longer, dad will have to take his kisses from baby Evelyn over the phone.