Families reunited after leaving Georgian conflict

Wednesday, August 20th 2008, 9:12 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Two Oklahoma-based families were reunited with their loved ones Tuesday night after tense weeks of political conflict.

The families were in Georgia visiting relatives, when the country was invaded by neighboring Russia.

Five-year-old Miranda and three-year-old Megan saw their parents for the first time Tuesday night after weeks of separation. The children's father, Scott Cantrell said it was a tense week for the family.

"I was numb for a week," Scott Cantrell said. "Neither one of us felt anything until today when we knew they were on a plane coming home."

Initially, the entire family was in Georgia, but the parents left their children behind to spend more time with their grandparents.

One week later, Russia and Georgia began fighting over the province of South Ossetia.

The children were in the Georgian capital of Tblisi, but there was uncertainty over their safety.

"You just never know what the Russians were going to do," Sandro Gomarteli said. "You just never knew."

Sandro Gomarteli was also worrying about family in the time of conflict. He was visiting form the states with his cousin, who serves in the Georgian military.

"We saw the news and it seems like a small conflict then, but in the morning my cousin got called and we had to leave right away," Sandro Gomarteli said. "That's when it got bigger and then it just escalated from there."

Sandro Gomarteli returned from Georgia Tuesday night with his mother, Irma, and siblings. His father was there to greet the family members.

"It's difficult to express all the happiness," Mamuka Gomarteli said. "Of course, it's been a difficult 11 days."

The families continue to worry about other relatives remaining in the country.

"We have relatives and friends that are still down there," wife Irma Gomarteli said. "I have my kids and I'm thankful to God for that, but...there are a lot of people who are still left behind."

Both families remain grateful that their children escaped harm and are safe with their parents on American soil. They continue to remain in contact with relatives through e-mail and said they're please with the support their home country received from the U.S.