Sometimes, you just have to dance.
When I saw these images pop up in my Facebook feed, I couldn’t help but smile. 10 month deployment ends in reunion Lindy Hop. That, my friends, is some amazing heart therapy.
The images were captured by local photographer Robin Shotola, who volunteers with Operation Welcome Home Maryland. OWHMD is an all-volunteer organization who meet and greet EVERY returning military charter that comes into BWI. Even the flights that arrive in the middle of the night or very early in the morning have at least 1 person to greet the returning troops, shake their hands, thank them for their service, and offer whatever assistance they can – whether it’s finding a connecting flight, directing them to a nearby hotel that has vacancy and Government rates, or just directing them around the corner to the USO.
“I’ve been a volunteer photographer for them for about a year now, and I can honestly say there’s no better feeling than to be able to thank these men and women – and their families who sacrifice so much while they’re gone – who serve our country in person,” said Robin.
She’s captured a years worth of poignant reunions. If ever there was a time when a picture speaks more than words, this is that moment.
“I’ve begun to bring my 5-year old daughter to some of the events as well because I think it’s important for her to see and thank them as well. Military service is very important to our family – my husband is a West Point grad and he served in combat in Desert Storm. Taking photos of returning troops is my way of contributing to their happiness in some small part. I also do it to bring awareness to the fact that despite the drawdown of troops overseas and all of these homecoming flights, there are still daily charter flights that transport our military personnel overseas and into harms way.”
How Can You Help Operation Welcome Home Maryland
Not a photographer? You can still help Operation Welcome Home Maryland. OWHMD accepts donations of bottled water, treats, snacks and Thank You Cards as well as monetary donations to purchase these items. Each service person and returning families receive a bag with water, snacks and a THANK YOU card for their service and sacrifice. Read how you can help.
Many thanks to Robin for letting us share her photos! See more of her work at www.shotola.com.