Technology plays a key role in helping Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Rende stay connected with his children.
"I talk to them on the phone and through the computer, with Paltalk and Yahoo," wrote Rende, who is in Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division.
A single father, he has left the care of his daughters, Katelyn, 12, and Renae, 9, to his friend, Cindy Hayes, who lives in Hephzibah.
Katelyn attends Hephzibah Middle School, and Renae attends Hephzibah Elementary School.
Before joining the 4th Infantry, he was stationed at Fort Gordon. He worked with the quality assurance office from August 2004 to August 2007.
"Out of my whole career, Fort Gordon was where I made my closest friends," wrote Rende, a native of Ilion, N.Y., who joined the Army in 1995. "All my friends are pitching in and helping Cindy take care of my kids for me, and I love them all so much for the support."
He has been in Iraq since November and is the network controller for Company C, Special Troops Battalion, which means he monitors communications between headquarters and the brigades.
He will be in Iraq until February 2009, but will be able to see his daughters during an 18-day leave in July.
The communication with his daughters; his girlfriend, Lisa Pena of Joliet, Ill., and her three children, Ramon Pena, Alan Bulow and Brianna Wright, keeps him going.
"My kids inspire me to keep going, because I live for them. Without my family I am nothing. I wear this uniform for them. Everything I do,
"I think that it is one step closer to a better future for those kids, and I was one to help build that. I honestly don't know what I would do without them in my life. They are my rock; they are my reason to come home," he wrote.
When he's not at his station in Iraq, Rende spends his time working on his mind and body.
He is taking online courses with Excelsior College to obtain an associates degree in applied science and technology. He also spends a lot of time working out, trying to avoid the 30- to 40-pound weight gain he has seen in other soldiers.
While on leave this summer, he plans to re-enlist in hopes of returning to Fort Gordon.
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