This Throwback Thursday is about something that happened just a few months ago. It was one of the first stories that I got to cover when I was working for The Daily Times in Salisbury, MD. One of the coolest things about doing the photojournalism thing is that I get to meet so many people with so many interesting stories. On this night, I got to shoot 3rd - 5th grade students at North Salisbury Elementary School who had interviewed and made video documentaries about the lives of area WWII veterans. They were presenting their final projects to the vets and their families at a ceremony at the school. And they were quite good. The excitement was rampant and I was so happy to be there.
One of these groups of children was fascinated by the stories of their veteran, Charles Mowbray, but they noticed that he only had pictures of the medals that he had earned during his service. So they asked him why he didn't have the medals. Seems that the Navy had never sent them to him. He thought they'd get around to it, but they never did. So these kids took it upon themselves to right this wrong and get Mr. Mowbray his medals that he'd waited 67 years to collect. One of the girls, Leanna Morris, wrote a heartfelt letter to her Senator to make it happen. And she accomplished her mission.
But what Leanna and Mr. Mowbray didn't know was that the school arranged another assembly the next week where he would be presented with his medals, and she'd be the one to give them to him. When I heard about this, I knew I wanted to cover it, and my photo editor told me to go for it. These two thought it was going to be just another part of the project. The surprise was evident when Mr. Mowbray and Leanna walked in. All their family members were there for the presentation, along with lots of local dignitaries and several representatives from the Navy. There were heartfelt speeches and lots of hugs. It was quite an occasion, and it brought a lot of tears to people's eyes.
But something else occurred for me personally. Although I'm always taking pictures of the famous, I'm not the kind that likes to have his picture taken with celebrities. But this day was an exception. I got to chat with one of my news heroes, Steve Hartman of CBS News. He does the On The Road segments on the national news on Friday nights. He was there to cover the awarding of the overdue medals to Mr. Mowbray and the story behind it. I've never seen one of Steve's stories that I didn't like. They're always heart-warming and fascinating, and he has a way of presenting the story that just gets to you. What a great guy to chat with. I handed my camera to his cameraman for this one. It's one of those moments I'll never forget.
Oh, and here's Steve's feature that was on CBS News. You may see a certain photographer doing his thing as you watch. Yes, I love this stuff.