SAVANNAH, Ga. – Hundreds of soldiers stationed at Hunter Army Airfield are just days away from being deployed to the Middle East.
Staff Sergeant Jeremy Johnson is a helicopter medic and crew chief. He’s about to be deployed to Afghanistan for the second time. Johnson is married to his wife Chelsea and together they have three kids, Ellora, Elijah and Emma. While he has been deployed for combat twice before, this is the first time he’s being deployed for a longer duration with no chance of coming home for breaks.
“We only told the kids today,” he said. “It’s hard if you’re a five-year-old to know that dad’s going and time is relative with them.”
Last Christmas the couple won a raffle with Au Pair in America. An Au Pair is a nanny that lives with the family while also working with a J-1 Visitor Exchange Visa and earning university credit.
Once the Johnsons learned of his deployment, they decided to use their winnings towards obtaining an Au Pair. Au Pairs on average cost a family $8,600 dollars a year plus each Au Pair earns $200 a week. Military families do receive a discount. While searching for their newest addition to the family, they came across Anja Neumann.
“Watching her video, I was like,’Oh, this is it. I just know it,'” Chelsea Johnson said.
Neumann, 18, is from Germany and just arrived to the Johnson’s home on base less than a week ago. One reason the couple was drawn to her was because they were previously stationed in Germany where their oldest child was born.
For the next few weeks, Neumann and Sgt. Johnson will be in the house together learning about each other before he deploys.
“My hope is was they listen to me, they love me, they accept me,” Neumann said. “I hope that’s not too hard that it’s me that’s there and not daddy.”
Neumann says she hopes she can be of a big help by being a sort of big sister.
“It’s made this process easier knowing the kids are going to have help and I’m going to have help and relief a lot of the stress while your spouse is gone,” Chelsea Johnson said.