Elgin VFW Post 1307 is now offering free Skype services, 24 hours a day by appointment, for anyone who wants to communicate with relatives in active duty stationed in the U.S. or abroad.
Post senior vice commander Doc Sheehan said the initiative is all about mental health for servicemen and women, and their families.
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Sheehan donated a new computer now hooked up to a big-screen TV inside the post at 1601 Weld Road in Elgin.
"This falls under the mental wellness of families category," said Sheehan, who serves as state surgeon for the state's VFW department. "It's veterans serving veterans."
New technology has been invaluable in helping families stay in touch with loved ones, he said.
"(Families) are sitting at home like my family sat at home for a year when I was in Vietnam," he said.
He was able to place only three calls home during his tour, but, "Nowadays with this technology, it makes this possible."
The computer is attached to a big-screen TV in a comfortable seating area with a camera that allows multiple people to be seen on screen at the same time, he said.
Sheehan, who came up with the idea a few months ago, said he'll manage the free service.
"If they are in Afghanistan and it's 2 a.m. at our time, I'll come up and open up the VFW."
Skype appointments must be made in advance. For information call (847) 888-9809 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.