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Stand-in Mom and Dad

Sometimes a wallet-size version of mommy or daddy isn't enough.

Small photos can't sit in the chair next to you at dinner or go to the park and play.

Flat Daddies and Flat Mommies can.

Flat Daddies and Flat Mommies are life-sized printed posters of parents actively serving overseas in the military.

The Goodhue County Red Cross is offering the posters free to local military families.

Children really seem to enjoy having a life-size picture of their parent to talk to and spend time with, said Sarah Schuck, Goodhue County Red Cross executive director.

"It helps keep their memory fresh," she said. "It's just another way of helping them stay connected."

Local Red Cross officials received a grant to provide the program in this area.

Pierce and Goodhue county military families are encouraged to provide a photo of their soldier to be turned into a Flat Daddy/Mommy.

Pictures must be of the military member from the waist yo and taken with a 3 mega pixel camera or better. Cell phone and disposable camera pictures will not work.

"It gives the child a little bit more personal tie to the parent," said Cindy Becker, Goodhue County Red Cross program manager. "Looking at a little picture just doesn't have the same effect."

Flat Daddies and Flat Mommies are beneficial for soldiers too, Becker said.

Many families bring the posters on outings and take pictures with it to send to their soldier.

"It helps the soldier know the family is always thinking of them," Becker said.

Pictures can be e-mailed to or sent to the chapter at Goodhue County Red Cross, PO Box 29, Red Wing MN 55066.

Pictures will be sent in for enlargement in as soon as they are received. The turn around time is about a month.