Group Lets Soldier See Newborn Daughter from Iraq

By: Stacy McCloud
By: Stacy McCloud

Knoxville (WVLT) - Ask any parent and they'll tell you, it doesn't get much better than experiencing the birth of your child.

However, missing that magic moment is often the tough reality for many of our service men thousands of miles away from home.

Not exactly the case for one local soldier, who as Volunteer TV’s Stacy McCloud shows us, went from the front lines to his family in a matter of minutes.

Here at Parkwest Medical’s child birth center, miracles happen everyday.

"She is beautiful, she has lots of hair,” Mandi Montgomery still can't believe her 8 pound 6 ounce little girl Ava is finally here.

She came into the world one week after her due date.

"I was just ready to see her face, see what she looked like,” Mandi says.

If you think that's anticipation, imagine having to wait for such an important milestone and be some seven thousand miles away.

"In the beginning he called almost every hour and towards the end he was calling like every 30 minutes. So, I got to talk to him a lot during the labor,” Mandi says.

Mandi's husband jay can't be here in person because he's serving our country in Iraq.

"I was carrying her around with me, so I had her,” Mandi says. “He was just there being an anxious dad."

Typically Lieutenant Montgomery would have to wait until his September homecoming to be introduced to his little girl.

But thanks to technology and the charity "Freedom Calls", he doesn't have to wait another second.

"Can you see her?” Mandi asks.

“Hey, yeah!” Lt. Montgomery says. “She is big!"

Less than 24 hours after Ava's birth, jay is able to visit the hospital via satellite.

"She is beautiful,” Jay says.

"Do you hear daddy's voice,” Mandi says to little Ava.

An emotional moment, that through a camera lens, just can't get her close enough.

"Can you zoom in,” Jay asks. “That would be great."

An hour and a half of family time that will help until a time when he won't only just see and hear her, but hold her in his arms.

"He'll probably want to just stare at her for a long time, see that she is really real,” Mandi says.

Freedom Calls says it is a possibility they will have to shut down their organization next week due to a lack of funding.
For more information on Freedom Calls, visit

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