After a devastating loss, free call time allowed Spc. Casey Slavin to give his family the support they needed.


Dawn Briner knew early on that she would be a military mom when her son Casey set his heart on being a soldier at age 9.

“I used to tell Casey that if he didn’t behave, I would send him off to military school,” said Briner from Ponca City, Okla. “It turned out to be a bad threat because he actually wanted to go.”

When Casey Slavin, now Spc. Slavin, joined the military at age 24, Dawn felt great worry paired with pride.

“A mother needs to be able to hug her child and feel that he is close,” said Briner.

When Slavin deployed to Afghanistan in July of 2008, he was anything but close.

Slavin is married and has three children of his own now: Hanci, 7, Hayden, 5, and Harlee, 4. When Slavin left for Afghanistan, his wife Tiffany was pregnant with their fourth child. Sadly, there were complications. Hania Slade Slavin was born on September 3, 2008, and his funeral was held a week later. Slavin was called home from war for the services.

“Those phone calls became so much more important as the family recovered from their loss,” said Briner. “Words were all they had to remedy the midnight cries and the feelings of emptiness.”

This past year has been hard, but thanks to VFW “Free Call Days,” Slavin was able to stay connected to his wife Tiffany, his three kids, his mother and grandparents.

“Those days when Casey got to call home were important to all of us,” said Briner. “Just hearing that he was OK eased our minds and allowed him to better focus on his missions.”



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