Jeffersonville Photographer creates priceless memories for military families
JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WDRB) -- Specialist Kurtis Neels has stared down this country's enemies, but when he has to stare down the lens of a camera, he doesn't mince words. "I don't like posing for pictures at all."
He does it, though, for one reason. "Because Tara really wanted me to," says Specialist Neels with a sigh.
Tara Bucci, is the love of Kurtis' life. He found it impossible to say no to her request when she explained why. "When I see a picture of him or I have pictures of us together it makes me feel like he's not so far away," says Bucci
But pretty soon Kurtis will be far away. The army medic who's already served in Afghanistan volunteered to go back to the Middle East, this time to Iraq. Kurtis had to report to Camp Atterbury just a few hours after the photo shoot.
"It's mixed emotions," says Bucci, holding back tears.
As the make-up artist touches up Tara's make-up and curls her long brown hair. "I like it," she says with a laugh. "I don't do it very often."
Photographer Will Paro gives Specialist Neels his marching orders. "Turn your head toward me just a little bit," says Paro calmly as he holds the camera in his right hand.
"It's a lot nicer," laughs Spec. Neels. "They're (photographers) not quite so mean or pushy."
The organization HeartsApart.org provides the free photo session, pairing local photographers with military families. Paro says he's happy to do it because he understands the priceless memory each click creates. "My father was in the first Gulf War. I was like 8 he was deployed for over a year and I remember he missed my birthday and everything all we had was photos," recalls Paro. "So if we can give somebody else that same connection to photos that I had when I was young then we have to do it."
It will one year before this couple will take another photo together. Specialist Neels says even with modern technology, a simple photograph tucked away in a pocket can get him through hard times.
"Just because we have the Internet sometimes and get on the Internet and have our families it's still nice to have those pictures with you when you wake up in the morning and see a picture of your family member," says Spec. Neels.
The photos, once they're done, will be shipped to Specialist Neels His will actually be waterproof and tear proof but he'll be able to fold them into little cards so they can fit securely in their uniform pocket