I have the honor of being part of Welcome Them Home, an organization that provides military homecoming photo coverage to families welcoming home a service member from deployment. You may not know this, but I am a graduate of the Air Force Academy and served 5 years in the Air Force. I no longer wear the uniform, but the military is still very much a part of my life — my husband is still proudly serving in the Air Force!
So, when I heard about Welcome Them Home, I just had to get involved!
And last week, I had my first assignment, covering the homecoming of Army Lt. Meek. The California Guard 756 returned from a 1-year deployment from Afghanistan, arriving at Los Alamitos Airfield on sunny Wednesday morning. They arrived on two planes, just minutes apart to a crowd of excited family and friends!
Everyone has a story and Lt. Meek’s is a great one! After a full career in another field, he fulfilled a life-long dream to join the Army. And then one year ago, he got a call to ship out just 2-weeks before having to report for a 1-year tour in Afghanistan. This glorious morning his wife, 2 grown daughters, teenage son and numerous friends were there to welcome him home.
The first plane arrived with about half of the unit, eagerly welcomed home.
And the next plane (which carried Lt. Meek) arrived not long after. And just as his wife predicted, he would be the last one off, letting all of his troops exit first.
And to make his story even more touching, he brought a new friend home, Zina. Zina is a military working dog that sustained some severe, life threatening injuries on her tour of duty. Lt. Meek saved her from being put to sleep and she became his companion for the last 4 months in country. She comes home now, healed, and a new member of their family!
You can enjoy a slide show with coverage of the entire event here:
If you have a loved-one returning from a deployment to the Los Angeles area, please get in touch! Even if my schedule can’t support coverage, there are numerous photographers eager to provide is free service. Check the Welcome Them Home site for a full list! And if you’re a photographer who would like to get involved, please see the website also!