Lindsey Agner lives with Switzerland County grandparents while ‘mommy’s at work’

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Ask three-year old where her mommy is, and she’ll tell you that “Mommy’s at work.”

Like many children today who have two working parents, Lindsey Agner gets to spend her days with her grandparents — Bob and Ann Hatchett of Mount Sterling. But unlike other children, Lindsey Agner’s mommy isn’t coming to pick her up at the end of the day.

In fact, the family is hoping that mother and child are reunited just before Christmas after nearly a year apart.

Josephine Agner is a nurse with the 96th Combat Support Hospital in Iraq. Her family isn’t sure of the exact location of the hospital because that information is confidential, but it’s somewhere between Mosul and Baghdad — a long way from her daughter and loving family.

Josephine Agner is a graduate of South Dearborn High School, and for the past 10 years she has been a nurse in the U.S. Army. In January of this year, she reenlisted for another six years of serving her country.

Husband Phillip Agner is also a career soldier. Originally from Oregon, Phillip Agner met Josephine Agner while the two were stationed at the same base in Germany. That’s where Lindsey was born three years ago, and until October of last year it was the family’s home.

“They just got back to the United States in October after four years in Germany,” Ann Hatchett said. “They had just settled in at Fort Campbell before she left for Iraq. That’s when Lindsey came to live with us.”

Josephine Agner’s battalion left for Iraq in December, but since she was just getting back to the states after four years in Germany, she didn’t join her fellow soldiers until January of this year.

Ann Hatchett said that if all goes well, Josephine Agner will return from her tour of duty in Iraq two weeks before Christmas.

“We’re really looking forward to having her back home,” Ann Hatchett said. “We hope that it works out so that she’s back by Christmas.”

Phillip Agner is still in the states, but he is currently in assault school training at Fort Campbell, and he is also expected to leave for Iraq in September or October, once his training is completed.

With Josephine already in Iraq and Phillip in training to go there, the only real choice left for the military couple was to put their most precious possession — daughter Lindsey — into the care of Josephine’s family here in Switzerland County.

“She’s really a happy child,” Ann Hatchett says. “She plays really well by herself, and she plays well with other children, too. She has cousins who come and visit her and play with her about once a week, she’s not very lonely.”

Lindsey has been at the Hatchett home since January 31st. For a couple with all of their children out of the house, having a three-year old move in must have caused some adjustments.

“Everyone talks about having an ‘empty nest’,” Bob Hatchett laughs. “We don’t know what that is. We’ve got our children and grandchildren around us all the time. That’s what makes a happy family.”

Bob and Ann admit that having so much family around makes it much easier to watch and entertain Lindsey. Cousins and aunts and uncles come through the house all the time, playing with her and making her feel at home.

“When she was in Germany I got to visit her three different times,” Ann Hatchett says. “The first time was when she was just eight months old, and we bonded right away. It was wonderful.”

During a previous tour of duty, Lindsey lived with Bob and Ann for a four month period of time, so she’s very comfortable here in Switzerland County and is happy with her favorite toys and stuffed animals.

Bob Hatchett is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, and works in Lawrenceburg. Ann says that her work is being a full time grandma to Lindsey, and the two have definitely formed a wonderful, loving relationship.

Phillip Agner is able to come from Fort Campbell and visit Lindsey at different times, so she stays in contact with her daddy. Bob and Ann Hatchett keep all sorts of photos around the house of Josephine and Phillip — all for Lindsey to see and hold and keep.

“Bob runs them out of the computer printer, because Lindsey goes through them a lot,” Ann Hatchett said.

Josephine Agner also gets to call from Iraq about once a week, which gives Ann a chance to catch her daughter up on Lindsey, and gives Lindsey a chance to talk to mommy.

“Usually it’s pretty early in the morning because of the time difference,” Ann Hatchett said of the calls. “But she calls when she gets the chance to, so we adapt to it.”

Accompanying Lindsey to Mount Sterling was “Sadie”, Lindsey’s pet cat. Sadie joins four other cats at the Hatchett homestead, but it is a welcome bit of home for the little girl.

Switzerland County living also hasn’t hampered her appetite.

“She’s a really good eater,” Ann Hatchett said. “With her growing up in Germany, she is used to that type of food, so we weren’t sure how she would like foods here, but she eats everything. She really loves yogurt.”

Bob and Ann Hatchett are also proud of the other members of their family who are serving in the military.

Daughter Jennifer Hatchett is in the Air Force and currently stationed in Oklahoma. Granddaughter Stephanie Gulley is in the Army and is stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. Grandson Daniel Williams is in the Army and will go to Afghanistan in April.

All of their photos line the walls of the Hatchett home.

“We’re really proud of all of them,” Bob Hatchett said. “All of them are doing important work for our country.”

For now the Hatchetts are enjoying the laughter of a three-year old filling their home, and are looking forward with Lindsey to when the weather improves so she go to the park and play. Even though her parents are a long way from home, she’s quickly and easily adjusting to life with Grandma and Grandpa — except for one small detail.

“She’s an early riser,” Ann Hatchett says. “She’s up early every morning.

“Military girl.”