WA Military families celebrate big baby boom - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

WA Military families celebrate big baby boom

LACEY, WA (CNN) - They're calling it "Operation Baby Boom", and one Washington military base has decided how to throw a shower for all of them.

Thousands of women are now expecting at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

Inside the Marcus Pavilion in Lacey, WA, Operation Baby Shower has commenced.

What happens when 18,000 troops come back is a whole lot of babies, and what exactly do a few thousand new mommies and daddies need?

"We're doing formula, gummy vitamins and baby wipes," said Ken Swarmer the publisher of The Ranger Newspaper who started the event.

The Ranger newspaper got a couple of vendors together and put out the call and received a big response.

All were expecting mothers, like eight months pregnant Jamie Grimes, who's husband came back exactly eight months ago from Korea.

"It's like a joke going around where they're saying it's like this is a deployment baby yeah and almost everyone is," Grimes said.

Grimes is in good company. She waits with women who played the role of both mom and dad while their husbands and boyfriends served overseas.

"One of the brigades was in Afghanistan and suffered a lot of loss," Swarmer said. "There is still this joyous life reaffirming process."

It's truly a blessing said Nicole Johnson who is also eight months pregnant and who's family is welcoming their first baby girl.

"Seems like the natural cycle of things especially in the military," Johnson said. "The spouse goes off to Afghanistan and comes back and everybody gets happy."

It's been a long wait for families waiting on loved ones to return, nervous about a new baby, and at the same time dreading redeployment.

But patience comes easy when you've gone through what these families have been through.

"We've tried for awhile and didn't think we'd be able to have a child and out of nowhere we were blessed," said Sgt. Joshua Holdem in the U.S Air Force.

Holdem was here for the birth of his now 9-day-old baby, Jaxson. He redeploys in a few weeks.

"I had a commander say not too long ago, 'God, Family and Country' and he said that's the way I conduct business and in that order and it really seems that way when you come to an event like this," Holdem said.

The Ranger and Northwest Airlifter newspapers partnered with the Washington Guaranteed Education Program to put on the event.

Companies like Walmart and Huggies donated many of the items.

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