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(Credit: Digital Diamonds Photography, Clarksville, Tenn.)
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Military Family Enjoys Inclusion in New Doobie Brothers Video

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Look closely at the new Doobie Brothers music video “Far From Home,” which premiered exclusively here on USO.org earlier today. About three minutes into the video, you’ll witness a moment that Sgt. Mark Foster and his family will never forget.

The day was Nov. 21, 2010. Millions were watching the NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins, including Jodi and Kayla Foster, the deployed soldier’s wife and daughter, who were among 69,143 fans in attendance. They were invited to the game after winning an essay contest, but the Titans had even bigger plans. 

Sgt. Foster stunned his wife and 12-year-old girl by returning for leave from Afghanistan. Perhaps the most moving part of that incredible Fox Sports footage was to witness Jodi and Kayla’s sprint toward their husband and father, which as I wrote in an article that appeared in the Dec. 19 Tennessee Titans game program, was “quicker than any Titans or Redskins running back” who took the same field that day in Nashville.

Now, this surprise of a lifetime is part of a music video by a rock band that has sold more than 30 million albums.

“It feels great,” Jodi Foster told the USO just minutes after watching the world premiere video on USO.org. “There’s a lot of negativity surrounding deployments, because it’s bad that spouses have to leave each other. But this shows there is a happy side.”

As the Fosters thank the Doobies, the Doobies are thanking them. After just being chosen as grand prize winners of the group’s Far From Home Project contest, the Fosters will soon have another family reunion on a large stage, when they are the legendary rock band’s special guests at an upcoming concert.

“To even be in a Doobie Brothers video – they’re icons,” she said.



After first reuniting in the middle of a football stadium, the Foster family enjoyed Thanksgiving together. But then, the soldier had to return to Afghanistan, meaning that instead of being with his loved ones for Christmas dinner, a camera with photos of Mark filled his place at the table instead.

“I was very anxious,” Jodi said. “We knew our time apart was coming to an end and it just couldn’t get here fast enough.”

On March 12, Jodi and her family experienced another moment they would forever cherish.

After almost a year at war, Sgt. Foster got off a plane at Kentucky’s Fort Campbell with his brothers-in-arms. He made it home safely, which the soldier and his family, who will soon move together to Fort Hood in Texas, are all thankful for. But as a Screaming Eagle of the 101st Airborne Division -- which has made incredible sacrifices in Afghanistan and Iraq -- the Fosters know that many more U.S. troops and their families yearn for a similar embrace.

“I just wish every military family could have that huge homecoming and have that happiness, just to know what it feels like,” Jodi said. “I’m especially thinking about those family members who have rough deployments.”

For the thousands of troops deployed in the mountains and deserts of America’s post-9/11 battlefields, as the new Doobie Brothers song goes, “just remember when the rain begins to fall, that you’ll never be far from home.” -- Tom Sileo, USO Director of Story Development 

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(Photo credit: The Fosters reunite; Digital Diamonds Photography, Clarksville, Tenn. 

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