Saying goodbye to his family is never easy, but it is something Capt. Roderick Vinson of Charlotte has had to do many times as a member of the Army Reserve.
Vinson just returned home from a year of service in Afghanistan with the 359th Theatre Tactical Signal Brigade, serving as a project manager for the Joint Network Operations Control Center in Balgrum, Afghanistan.
Leaving behind his wife, Keshia, and twin sons, Bryce Owen and Tyler Jacob, 4, was the hardest part about being deployed, Vinson said, calling his wife a “superstar” for holding the family together while he was gone. “She knows the burden of doing it by yourself while your loved one is away.”
Vinson was determined to be an active husband and father while deployed, and helped Keshia take advantage of the many services offered to families of those overseas. “I just want to get (the different programs and support systems) message out to other soldiers,” said Vinson, who has been away from his wife for nearly four years due to deployments.
The two were well aware of how hard it is to keep a family running with just one parent home, which is why both are dedicated now to reaching out and helping other spouses while their loved one is overseas.
Not only did Vinson stay involved with his loved ones while away, but he also stayed active with his local community by organizing a 5K for the soldiers to raise money for the March of Dimes. Vinson’s twins spent a combined 78 days in the neonatal intensive care unit after being born premature – a focus of the March of Dimes.
“If you saw my boys today you would never know they were premature, and that is because of the technology available and the March of Dimes,” Vinson said.
The 5K was a success for Vinson, who saw the event raise more than $1,000 for the nonprofit. But it also was something for the soldiers to enjoy.
“The troops were very excited. Basically, if you provide them with a t-shirt they are going to be excited and happy,” he joked.
While deployed, Vinson was encouraged to see many back home reach out to him, and he received care packages from people he had never met before. Those packages were a highlight of his time in Afghanistan, Vinson said, and something he was very grateful for.
“Just to receive a care package from a stranger is just tremendous,” he said.
During his time in Afghanistan, Vinson was able to build a relationship with the family sending him packages and sent things to them, as well.
“Once a month I was looking forward to a package from them,” he said.
But the best part about being deployed, Vinson said, was coming home to his wife and sons, who were anxious to see him return safely.
“It has been wonderful,” he said of being home. “It was a much needed and wonderful reunion.