Wellesley, Mass. – “We’re here to keep you connected to your loved ones,” Will Cunningham told the small crowd of family members that had gathered at the Massachusetts National Guard’s Military and Family Support Center, here, Dec. 11, 2011. This holiday season will be a little tougher for these families, their loved ones just deployed overseas with the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s
387th Ordnance Company, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit and the 126th Military History Detachment. The 387th EOD deployed to Kosovo and the 126th MHD deployed to Afghanistan.
Keeping people connected is what Cunningham does as AT&T’s Director of Sales for New England, but this was different. He was here not to sell but to give and for these families the holidays came early. AT&T gave each family their newest Samsung tablet computer to help them keep in touch with their Soldiers during the deployment. The company is also going to ship another 12 tablets overseas for the Soldiers to use. The tablets are equipped with built in cameras which will allow the troops and their families to actually see each other when they talk and 32 gigabytes of memory so the troops can record messages to send if they are not near a wireless signal.
“This here (tablet) from AT&T is outstanding,” said Staff Sgt. (Ret) Fred Rockett, “Especially ones (Soldiers) with little ones; (it will) make their Christmas a whole lot better, being able to see their kids.”
His son Fred Jr. is a Staff Sgt. who deployed with the 387th EOD, his son Dan, a specialist with the 189th Engineer Team (Asphalt) recently returned home from a deployment.
“It’s important to have communications with our family members who are serving overseas” said Cunningham.
Cunningham knows the importance of keeping in touch with deployed family members; his brother-in-law is serving on Active Duty in the Marine Corps and has deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq.
“I think this is just amazing, I couldn’t be happier,” said Andrea Brewster. Her husband, Lt. Col. Mark Brewster, commander, 126th MHD, is on his third deployment.
“We didn’t have a lot of communication with his first deployment, but that was in 91’ (Desert Shield/Desert Storm),” said Brewster, “to go from that, not hearing from him for months, to this, where I look forward to seeing his face is just going to be great.”