Deployed Oahu couple separated from young son

Sgt. Kiory Potes & Sgt. Kaleo Andersen
Sgt. Kiory Potes & Sgt. Kaleo Andersen
Gloria Andersen
Gloria Andersen
Leif Andersen
Leif Andersen

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HALEIWA (KHNL) - Imagine being sent to Iraq, leaving your newborn at home. That's what two Oahu parents had to deal with. Luckily they have parents who stepped in to take an important lead.

Kaleo Andersen and his fiance Kiory Potes were deployed to Iraq around four months ago.

They're in the Arizona Army National Guard.

They say leaving their son behind was very hard, but something they had to do. At 18-months-old, Keahi is just like any other boy his age. He likes climbing all over things, including his grandfather's tractor.

But this isn't just a play day at his grandparent's home. It's an every day occurance. With mom and dad overseas, grandma and grandpa are playing the role of parents.

"They took it harder than I did until we came home here, then it started because he was use to them for awhile then he noticed that they weren't here, it was really hard," Keahi's grandmother Gloria Andersen said.

"Right now, though it is very hard, it was a choice we had to make between deploying now when it probably won't affect his life later on," Sergeant Kaleo Andersen said.

Both Kaleo and Kiory feel extremely lucky to have that support on the home front, as they support and protect our country.

Leif, Keahi's grandfather, knows this all too well. He's in the army as well. for almost four decades now.

"They need to focus and if they're worried about everything at home, they can't focus and that's how people get hurt, they can't focus," he said.

As Keahi gets older though, the more milestones they're missing out on.

"Everything there is different and him growing up, they were here for his first few steps, but climbing, walking, falling down, talking," Leif said.

But despite the tough situation, they try to keep things positive.

"At this point right now, he's in great hands, he's with his family and we just feel very comfortable where he's at right now," Sgt. Kiory Potes said. "Everything we do, we try to do as a couple, we feel that the foundation of our family starts with us."

That attitude and a strong family keeps them bonded together as they await the next time they get to see one another.

"It's very heart-breaking at times, but in the end, it'll be worth it, we have something to look forward to every day, seeing him and being reunited again as one big happy family," Potes said.

Kaleo and Kiory are expected to land in Honolulu on Saturday to be reunited with their son Keahi and the rest of their family.