Last updated: August 25. 2013 6:10AM - 41 Views

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LINDA SAKEMILLERLimaBells will be ringing this holiday for families having loved ones serving in the military in Iraq. On Dec. 13 and 14, families across Ohio will have the chance to see, hear and talk with their soldiers who otherwise would not be home for Christmas. Soldiers who are stationed in five camps in Iraq Camp Taji, Camp Fallujah, Camp Taqaddum, Al Asad Airbase and Camp Victory in Baghdad will have an opportunity to connect to their families and friends, open presents, share stories and bring some holiday cheer to one another through video conferencing technology.Ohio locations will host these 30-minute visits Dec. 13 and 14, beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. With Iraqi time being eight hours ahead, it will be midnight before some of the calls have been completed and soldiers can go to bed. Only soldiers at the five camps will be able to connect through the Freedom Calls satellite network. This is free of charge to the families and soldiers. Any costs incurred will be absorbed by the Freedom Calls Foundation, the public schools and support agencies involved as a way to show the soldiers they are appreciated. Families will be able to visit with their soldiers in private rooms, large enough to hold family and friends.Those wishing to connect to soldiers in any of the camps listed above must register by going to http://OhioDL.org/ and clicking on the Freedom Calls link. Families will need to select the site that is closest to them as well as the time of day they want to meet.The goal is to enable our troops to communicate free of charge from their base camps with their families at home via Internet telephone, instant messaging and videoconference.Among the locations that will host families for the Freedom Calls is the Allen County Educational Service Center, 1920 Slabtown Road, Lima. For information, contact Linda Sakemiller, director of instructional technology, at linda@allencountyesc.org or 419-222-1836, Ext.107.

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