Tulsa Man Says Goodbye To Family, Leaves For Iraq

Friday, March 13th 2009, 10:30 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The war in Iraq may be winding down, but Oklahoma soldiers are still being called up.

One area soldier is leaving his young family for the first time.

Jordan Hughes says she knew when she married her National Guard husband that she was signing up for a life of service.           

But the weight of that sacrifice didn't really hit her until those orders came.

"My heart just about fell out of my chest," she said. "I didn't know what to do. I knew to expect it, but it's a lot different when you know that it's happening. It was just a shock."

Sgt. Jeff Hughes was discharged from the Guard to take care of an ailing parent in 2004, but he re-enlisted in the Army Reserves in 2006.

"I couldn't not re-enlist," he said. "It kinda suited me."

Hughes says he wanted to serve during the height of the Iraq War. Now he's a father to 3-year-old Colton and 1-year-old Cooper, and 400 days is a lot of hugs and kisses he won't get to share with his boys.

"You know, I didn't really think of what I was leaving behind," he said. "But now that it's coming so close and it's time for me to go, it really did finally hit home. It really did."

The Hughes family and friends gathered in west Tulsa to say a prayer, share a meal and wish their soldier well.

True to her family's patriotic tradition, this soldier's wife is putting on a brave front. But then the wife and mother peeks out.

"I'm about to fall apart," Jordan Hughes said. "I don't know what to do. And I know it's here. And I know this is what day it is."

But it's no different than the burden hundreds of military families share, something Jordan wants everyone to remember.

She also wants people to show their support for the troops by contributing to the Oklahoma Blue Star Mothers.