The Buddy System

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Long-Distance BFFs

Kris Gonzalez & Yves-Marie Daley

Kris, 35, a reporter for the Fort Jackson Leader, and Yves-Marie, 33, a reservist and public affairs officer for the Army, have been close friends since their boot-camp days.

Kris is a married mom who lives in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Yves-Marie is a single mom who lives in Woodbridge, Virginia. The two have never lived less than three hours away from each other, but they've been best friends for 10 years.

How they met: Boot Camp, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, April 2000. Both were college grads -- older than most recruits -- and wanted to become journalists. That's how they first bonded. "Early on in training, Kris and I had to stand guard together at night," says Yves-Marie. "You stand there for three hours with someone, you're going to talk to them. Your relationship intensifies just like you're a kid at summer camp." Kris adds: "Yves-Marie kept me sane and motivated."

Most hilarious moment: Christmas in Germany, 2002. "I was stationed there and Yves-Marie was the only friend who came to visit," says Kris. "Since we'd both recently ended long-term relationships, we had a contest to see how many cute guys we could kiss in one night. When we're together, we're always laughing."

Most intense moments: "Being in her wedding," says Yves-Marie. "It was the smallest and sweetest ceremony." And the birth of Yves-Marie's son, Nicholas. "I was in the hospital room with her. What an honor!" says Kris. "How many women can say they saw their best friend give birth?"

How they're different: Kris is a total girly girl, says Yves-Marie: "During advanced training, I'd come to her room before class and she'd never be ready -- she'd still be putting makeup on." Yves-Marie is more tomboyish: "She's the kind of person who assembles her own furniture," says Kris. "She actually likes doing that kind of stuff."

It's all about give-and-take: When Yves-Marie was pregnant and her marriage was going south, she called Kris every day, crying. "She'd always apologize to me," says Kris. "But my husband was deployed, I was in Georgia by myself with a colicky baby, I'd given up my career and I had no one. I needed her to need me!"

Yves-Marie on Kris: "She's very real about things. Ask some moms how things are going and they'll say, 'Life's great; my kids are perfect.' But I know when I hit a tough spot, Kris will have been there and she'll tell it like it is."

Kris on Yves-Marie: "I know if I needed her all I'd have to do is call. She's a mirror for me, since we're so alike. When she's telling me about her problems, it makes me reflect on my own. And when she's telling me about her triumphs, it makes me believe I can achieve my own."

Continued on page 4:  Friends in Need


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