FORT BRAGG, N.C. - As thousands of soldiers settle into their temporary homes in the Middle East many families are waiting to learn if their loved ones will soon deploy.
“I called my mom crying because I don’t know what the schedule is for my husband and for my baby or if he’s here for my delivery,” said Isamar Diaz, 29. She’s scheduled to deliver her first born next week and recently learned her husband has been activated meaning he is on standby to deploy.
Diaz works at My Heavenly Sweets baking Puerto Rican deserts. Work is a welcomed distraction and a home away from home.
“It’s very hard for me and my husband because it’s our first baby,” said Diaz.
“It’s been a roller coaster since Christmas after learning many are being activated,” said Major Jose Rodriguez. Rodriguez owns the bakery not far from the entrance of Fort Bragg. He also serves with the Army Reserves and comes from a family dedicated to serving the country. Many of his employees feel like family as they have ties to the military.
“After some of the husbands got activated they are crying in the morning or maybe crying behind the fridge. It’s an emotional,” said Rodriguez. Each morning before opening the bakery Rodriguez and his team pray.
He’s supporting his employees, like Diaz, in every way he can while he waits.
“My unit is on standby,” said Rodriguez who may deploy. He’s just unsure but ready to answer the call to serve if it comes.
If you walk into his bakery at the checkout, you’ll find a bucket of small toy soldiers. He asks his customers to take one of the soldiers as a reminder to pray for the troops.
As for Diaz, she is proud of her soldier and plans to lean on her second family and faith.
“God is the most important in this time,” said Diaz.
The hardest part for many families is just not knowing if their loved ones will deploy and how long they could be gone for. The USO of North Carolina Sandhills chapter told soldiers who were some of the first to deploy in the New Year that their families could expect nine months and if they come back early then to consider that a win.