Active duty U.S. military members numbering around 170,000 are deployed to more than 150 countries around the world. Nearly 40,000 members are assigned to classified missions in undisclosed locations. Franklin native John Marr is one of those individuals. Marr graduated from Franklin High School in 2012 and currently serves in the United States Air Force where he works in structural maintenance. He was deployed in October for the second time since joining the military.
This deployment however, is a little different than his last one. When Marr left to serve in October, he didn’t just leave behind his wife Kaylee, who gradated from Franklin High School in 2015. But he also left behind his 10-month-old son, Trevor.
“Our son is 10 months old so this is his first Christmas,” said Kaylee. “It’s really hard to not have John here for Trevor’s first Thanksgiving and Christmas but we are both so proud of him. He will also be missing his first birthday which is also really hard on him.”
Kaylee and John were married on June 10, 2017, after dating for a year. While John was part of the Franklin High School football and wrestling teams, he joined the military after spending two years studying at Western Carolina University. He has served in the military for the last six years.
With John missing his first Christmas as a new dad, Kaylee wanted to do something to bring her family together for the holidays. She posted a picture of John holding a sign reading “Merry” and a picture of her and Trevor holding a sign reading “Christmas” side by side on Facebook. Despite being across the world from each other, the photos made them feel a little closer together. Photographer Ruby Peoples photoshopped the picture a little more to blend the two photos together to make it appear as if they family was a little closer for the holidays.
“Deployments can be so hard and exhausting,” said Kaylee. “The idea behind the picture came from other military spouses I’m friends with. I just thought it would lighten up the holidays and show no matter how far away he is, John is still with us and we are still one happy family.”
Kaylee said living in Franklin and being around friends and family makes the entire process a little easier.
“I am very fortunate to be able to move home and have the help of family to keep us busy,” said Kaylee. “We also ordered a life size cardboard cut out of him so he can be ‘here’ as well and to keep things funny. We are making the best of the situation. The love and support all of us have felt by our family and friends is amazing and we appreciate it.”