Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Samantha Hayes reporting Just hours before NBC correspondent David Bloom passed away over the weekend, he touched the life of a Utah family in a very special way.
The Vargas family has a son serving right now in the 315 Mechanized Unit of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, the same unit where David Bloom was embedded.
Bob and Sandy Vargas spend most of their time these days watching the news. Their son, Jason, has been in the Middle East since October. He is with the second brigade, third infantry.
Sandy says, "Your heart just sinks when you hear they are heading closer to Baghdad."
They thought communicating with their son from the front line would be impossible.
"But when Mr. Bloom came out and said 315-- that was my boy's address, 315," says Bob. "So he was the one. We followed him from day one."
And every day after that watching David Bloom became a sort of family ritual.
Bob says, "Oh, she'd scream at me that David Bloom's on! And I'd scream at her 'David Bloom's on!'"
"We just knew maybe we'd get a glimpse of Jason," Sandy says.
The Vargas' hadn't heard from Jason in over a month. But last Saturday, very early in the morning, they got a call.
"I said, 'Jason, where are you?'" recalls Sandy. "I mean, I know where you are. How are you calling me?"
"And he said, 'David Bloom.' And I said, 'The reporter? You are with him?' And he laughed and said 'They are setting up camera equipment.'"
Jason and his parents talked by way of David Bloom's satellite phone for a half hour. Bloom himself was a topic of conversation.
"I asked him what kind of guy is he?" Sandy says. "And he said he's a real cool dude."
It was just a few hours later, Sunday morning, when the unimaginable happened, and Bloom died.
"I can't believe it," Sandy says. "And after watching since March 19th, and he helped my son call, felt like a member of the family."
Many of you, including the Vargas', have expressed the desire to convey your condolences to the Bloom family. You can email them at BloomFamily@nbc.com
The Bloom Family c/o NBC 30 Rockefeller Plaza New York, NY 10112