"Kids Of Courage" Part One - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

"Kids Of Courage" Part One

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(KCEN) -- Our soldiers' children have shared the unimaginable burden of years and years of war.

In their own way, they've been serving and sacrificing, just like our troops.

7-year old Jorge "Junior" Maldonado is one of those mighty military kids, and he's stepping up to take care of his family while his dad is in Afghanistan.

"My mom gets sad when my dad's gone," says Junior.

For nearly half of his life, Junior's dad, Sergeant Jorge Maldonado, has been deployed.

"It's kind of like being a single parent for that period of time, half of your heart is gone," explains Junior's mom, Taisha.

So when Taisha starts to miss Jorge, Junior knows just what to do.

"I make her bracelets with my kit," he says softly, as he thoughtfully pieces a rubber bracelet together.

He also does his part to care for his 3-year old brother, Andres, often checking to see if he's hungry or thirsty, and jumping to action, if he needs anything.

Taisha says, "He just really loves protecting mommy, like any time I'm sick, and he knows I need help, because dad's not home, he'll ask if he can sleep in my room. He'll make his bed on the floor, so he can take care of me while I'm sleeping."

And over 7 thousand miles away at Bagram Air Force Base, that means the world to Jorge, who works there supporting security operations on and around the base.

"I'm glad he's there trying to cheer her up, because he sees how sad she is," Jorge said.

Jorge says he knows exactly what he'll do next time he sees his eldest son.  

"Oh, I'm going to give him a big hug and tell him I'm very proud of him for helping his mom out," Jorge said.

If you ask Junior, he'll tell you he's just doing what his favorite "good guy" would do.

He says dad is his hero, and he wants to be just like him.

"That makes me happy, that makes me happiest dad in the world, to know that my son actually said that," said Jorge.

And this time, Junior isn't making another bracelet for mom.

He slips the small rubber ring into an envelope labeled, "Daddy," along with a few drawings from him and Andres. 

When Jorge receives it in Bagram, a great big long distance smile spreads across his face, and he laughs happily. 

"He made me a ring!" he exclaims, as he slips it on his middle finger. 

He then tacks the drawings up on the wall inside his office.

This brave soldier says he now has peace of mind in a time of war, knowing his amazing kid of courage will help mom soldier through.

Jorge will return from Afghanistan sometime in the next few months.

Reporter: Sophia Stamas sstamas@kcentv.com

Photographers: Tiffany Pelt and Jordan Bontke

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