We are in desperate need of more Professional Photographers in the Panama City, FL area! If you are a pro photographer that is willing to donate your time and talents to Operation: Love ReUnited, please consider applying. Any interested photogs can complete the application here: http://www.oplove.org/admin/machform/view.php?id=1
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WOW! We did it! We have successfully not only set the bar for so many future events like Fort Bliss, we have also photographed over 700 families, thanked over 700 soldiers, made ourselves SO PROUD, and we have met some really amazing people.
I have to personally thank the Captain, our new friends Vianne and Pete, the FRGs and leaders, all the volunteers and those who donated to fund this event, and of course, all my photographers- with out you all this amazing event would not have happened! Think about these 700+ guys and gals who will be able to have that album with them over the next 12 months. What a gift!
Over the past two days, I’ve learned so much more about my own organization and the things we’ll be able to accomplish. Going to Fort Bliss might as well of been one of the most important weekends of our organizations life, and the most touching. We cried many tears, and not just my gals… my guys too. We shared hugs and friendships, tips and knowledge. We gained a couple new photographers as they learned that what we do, what we give, truly touches these soldiers and their families- of all ages, branches and rank- and that in turn touched them straight to their soul.
I don’t know of any other program that boosts moral like Operation: Love ReUnited. This program works, and it is WORTH the investment. I have about 30 people, and so many families that will attest to that.
The people that have been in the military for quite a while, those who have “lost count” at the number of deployment this will be in May, I have to say came in pretty….. cold to the idea that their picture was being taken, or maybe it was the fact that they had to get dressed up… Could it be the ball they all attended the night before hehe. I can say that I had one family in particular who had 2 children, a preteen and a teen. Dad has been in for who knows how many years and had indeed lost count of which deployment this is (number wise). By the time I had separated out the children with their father, I had finally started to bring out the “family” in them, and I managed to capture quite a few real smiles, the smiles and giggles they share at home- not in front of a camera. I wish I could be there to see Dad’s face when he opens that album for the first time in June. My heart is so warm just thinking about the joy he will feel.
Another couple that stood out to me had told me about 1/2 way thru their session that they had just found out that she was 8 weeks pregnant!! Hooray! They were SO EXCITED… But I sensed a bit of sadness from them knowing that the new daddy wouldn’t be there to help bring that baby into it’s new world.
Anyway, we all should be safely home with our some 3000 images to sort thru over the next few weeks. Watch here for pictures, and news!
Congratulations to all my photographers, and all the help we received it was AMAZING!
Again, we did what we thought was impossible.
2 months ago when Ft. Bliss contacted us about shooting their brigade that is deploying in May, we were a little beside ourselves, when they announced it would be 2000 families. But with some conscious and strategic planning, I must say that we pulled of the first day with little madness and flying colors. I’ve met an awful lot of people thru this organization in it’s short life, online, and I’ve built those relationships, calling some my best friends, even tho we’ve never met. Last night and today, we have put a voice to the name and online avatars. We have hung out and discovered personalities, for the first time ever!
We’ve had so much amazing support planning this event. It’s truly a blessing that we can help all these families getting ready to say their goodbyes rather then hellos. As the weeks approached we learned that our final count of preregistered families was around 724. This was a huge relief for us 22 photographers.
With some no shows we each were able to take breaks, eat, drink, and smooze. It was amazing.
This evening after shooting all day, the guys who helped make this happen took us to dinner at Fuddruckers, and proudly, we were awarded a special support coin and certificates. I can honestly tell you that aside from my children, I have never been so proud and so grateful of my participating photographers they are the life of this organization. Tonight, I can tell you all that I can feel the leaps and bounds that we’ve made in this organization, with bigger ones on the horizon, and knowing that just today we have supported over 300 families, that makes every tired aching spot on my body worth it. I’ve never been so proud to wear my little yellow ring over my wedding set. Everywhere we go someone is affected by these deployments.
Stay turned for day 2 of the Fort Bliss Event. So far it’s amazing… we pulled it off!