With Her Only Child Overseas, E-Mail Is Her Salvation

While his mother waits anxiously in East Texas, a young man from Gilmer is in the Middle East fighting for his country. Unfortunately, Barbara Sensing of New London has no idea where her son is or what he's doing.

"The hardest part is not knowing what's going to happen and not knowing where he is" she says.

Barbara's son, Jeremy Sensing (24) grew up in Gilmer and joined the Marines right after high school. With a few years experience under his belt and a specialization in aircraft quality assurance, Jeremy knew he would be deployed.

Since his departure two months ago, Jeremy has stayed in touch via e-mail.

"He can't tell me anything," Barbara says. "He can't tell me where he is. But I kept a message on my answering machine that he left me. I listen to it every night before I go to bed just to hear his voice."

During the day, Barbara attends to a busy office at Stepping Stone School in Tyler. Her portable radio stays on all day -- it's her only link to the latest information.

"Staying busy helps me cope," adds Barbara. "And seeing children at work helps me. I have this thing where I think if I help someone else's child, maybe if my son needs help, he'll get what he needs."