LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Staff Sergeant Daryl Casey works on helicopters at Camp Buehring in Kuwait. This is his third deployment to the Middle East with the Kentucky Army National Guard, but there's something a little different about this deployment.
"When we first got here, we were just getting settled in and there was a mama cat who was kind of hanging around our area
Not too long after we got in and got settled in, she had kittens," Sgt. Casey said.
The soldiers have been having fun with all of them, but Sgt. Casey said one of them was special.
"One of the particular little kittens, he and I just kind of bonded. He's see me coming in and he'd come running up to me and rub against my legs. I'd sit down and he'd jump in my lap. When everybody sees him walking around, they go 'Hey there's Daryl's cat!' They always say, 'Hey are you looking for your daddy? He's right over there!'," he said.
Sgt. Casey named the cat Stanley and Stanley made a big difference in this soldier's life.
"Christmas and Thanksgiving were, for me, really tough. Those are big family gatherings and I was sitting at work feeling kind of blue and somebody opens the door and here comes Stanley into the office. He kind of looks at me and jumps up in my lap. You can kind of see from those pictures he just kind of lays up beside me like 'Hey man, it's going to be ok. I'm here'," Sgt. Casey said.
In fact, Sgt. Casey's friends and family started including cat toys in their care packages for him.
"We had some catnip mice that people had sent and those cats went crazy for that!" he said.
In about a month, Sgt. Casey will head back to Kentucky and he couldn't stand the thought of leaving Stanley behind. It turns out, he won't have to. There's an organization called Nowzad that specializes in helping troops get animals they've adopted from Afghanistan back to the states. They'll help Sgt. Casey get Stanley home to Frankfort.
"Getting home will be an absolutely joyful event but just to see that little cat's smiling face when I come in the house, that's just going to be something. I can't wait for it," Sgt. Casey said.
It will cost about $1,300 to get Stanley medically cleared, then flown to Atlanta. Sgt. Casey started a fundraising website this morning. He says one way or another, he'll get Stanley home.
"People say you're saving this cat's life and I'm like, well, in a way he's kind of saved me just by being there for me," Sgt. Casey said.
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