Since moving to Jacksonville last May, we have had the pleasure of meeting and becoming friends with some wonderful military families. Jacksonville is home to several military facilities and has the third largest military presence in the country. It is an honor to be able to walk alongside these families, especially the wives and children, in community while their husbands (and some wives!) are away serving our country. There is a special connection I feel with these families, as they choose to plant and invest their lives in a place they may not end up calling home forever. Being married to a pastor and moving around a lot for ministry, I understand that. But what I don't understand, and have never experienced up close and first hand, is the sacrifice.
We met Dan and Nicole Enfinger at church a couple weeks after moving to town. We sat in on their Life Group and learned that Dan would soon be heading out on deployment in the next week or so. Over the last few months, I've gotten to know Nicole and have admired her as someone who is intentional with their time. Whether a Navy wives bible study or a play date with another mom, I have greatly admired how she chooses to invest in others while her husband is away.
When she reached out to me about shooting Dan's homecoming, I was a little nervous to be honest - but, really excited about the opportunity to capture such a special time! After my first experience at a Navy homecoming, I can honestly say, it was beyond anything I've ever imagined it being. I've seen the pictures and videos before, but nothing compares to witnessing first-hand hundreds of people rushing to greet their loved ones! There was one dad that met his 6 month old son for the first time (you'll see them make a cameo in the gallery below - look for the couple with the tiny baby!) I expected them to be emotional, but I didn't expect to be the one tearing up behind the camera. I remember verbally saying aloud, "I can't handle this!" But I pulled it together long enough to capture what has become one of my favorite sessions to date (and definitely the most touching!) Thank you, Nicole, for asking me to come alongside you on this special day. It was an honor! And thank you, Dan, for your dedication to serving our country so faithfully. Welcome home!