RICHLAND, Wash.—Whenever a loved one leaves for the military it is tough on their family, but the Benton Franklin Chapter of the American Red Cross is making it a little easier.
Tara Smith and her two sons, 3-year-old Jesse and 5-year-old Colin, were given a Flat Daddy from the American Red Cross after husband and father, Anson Smith, left for Afghanistan for the Oregon National Guard.
Organizations around the county have been using the life-size photo cutouts, called Flat Daddy or Flat Mommy, to help children feel more connected to their parent while they are deployed.
Smith says she has seen a big change in her boys since getting the board. She thinks the photo helps them still feel close to their father even while he is away.
"They give him hugs and kisses and play games with him. They take him down to their playground downstairs and play trains. One of the boys saw him and walked up and said hi dad and gave him a big kiss and just kept on going like he was real and that was really special," says Tara Smith, received Flat Daddy.
The smiths were one of three families in the area to receive the Flat Daddy or Flat Mommy.