Offering a place to call ‘home’

Freedom New Mexico: Liliana Castillo De Santiago and Kyara take a quite moment to themselves. The mother-daughter pair will be staying with the Infantes until they can move into their new apartment.

Her friends call her yo-yo. But when it comes to taking care of kids, if a military mom is deployed overseas, Yolanda Infante is anything but.

In fact, she always seems willing to help out by providing a temporary home.

Over the past three years, Infante has consistently welcomed the children of her co-workers at Cannon Air Force Base’s Medical Group Clinic into her house.

One of the most recent guests was Senior Airman Maria De Santiago’s daughter, Kyara. After nine months of deployment, mostly in Afghanistan, De Santiago returned to meet up with her 6-year-old

“Miss Yo-Yo didn’t tell her anything. She (Kyara) thought they were there to pick up a friend of Yolanda’s,” De Santiago said. “She looked at me about three times before it kind of clicked. My mom and my dad were there too, so it was really nice.”

De Santiago and her daughter are living at Yolanda and Paul Infante’s home in Clovis as De Santiago waits for her housing to be ready in early July. Though the De Santiagos will soon be exiting, two more young girls of another single deployed mother are also staying at the house.

“I was seeing a lot of heartache with parents who were being deployed and what they were going to do with their children,” said Infante. “Whether they were single-parents or full families, that’s a big hardship on them. I had another child where both parents were deployed unexpectedly within a one-week period of each other.”

“I talked to her, told her I was going to be deployed, and she said she would take care of her. It was much easier than sending her home to my parents or her dad — and take her out of school,” said De Santiago, originally from Sunland Park, New Mexico.