VALDOSTA -- Snow-white, Spiderman and a host of creepy, crawly creatures spent Sunday afternoon bouncing in an inflatable fun house and munching on goodies at the National Guard Armory.

For the kids, it was a load of fun. For the parents, it was a chance to talk about similar situations -- spouses are serving a deployment to Iraq, and those left home ache for safe returns.

Ethel Anderson, a volunteer with the Alpha Company's Family Readiness Program, bid farewell to two sons who are serving with the Alpha Company in Iraq.

How she copes: "Pray. A lot."

Jenelda Taylor counts the days until her husband's return. Her husband, Jack, is set to retire when he comes home and longs to see his daughter and two grandchildren.

Eight-year-old Llorin Freelove talked about her dad's service overseas.

"It's like I don't have one," she said.

Mom Andrea smiles, and adds it'll be fun to have her husband home.

The Freeloves, like many families, endure time apart while trying to remain positive.

Anderson and other Family Readiness volunteers help to ease loneliness by hosting events throughout the year.

In July, the group had a picnic, and next month there will be a group movie event.

Sunday, over 20 kids raced around the Armory, proudly displaying costumes and fighting for a chance to jump in the bounce house.

Anderson said many people throughout Valdosta donate time and money to make events, like the Halloween carnival, possible.

"These families need an outlet," Anderson said.

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