USO Gulf Coast continues portraits of love tradition - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

USO Gulf Coast continues portraits of love tradition

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that's exactly what USO Gulf Coast is hoping for. For the second year in a row, the organization hosted its "Portraits of Love" program for military families.

The holidays can be a tough time for families to be separated from one another. However with the flick of a camera, those families will have a little something to hold on to this holiday.

"Yesterday actually kicked off the USO season of giving campaign. Today is day two and we're actually doing these portraits for military families, Gillum said,"

Through the national program, portraits like these will be distributed to about 10,000 soldiers currently serving overseas. It's a gesture military wives like Alenda Stevens can appreciate.

"He'll be surprised because its something out of the ordinary for us to do. Taking pictures and dressing up. Getting the kids to actually sit still for a picture. It was excellent. They really took the time with the kids and I loved it. They had fun and we all really had a good time," Stevens said,

For Stepens, whose husband is currently serving in Guam, it can get difficult. She says the hardest part is when her children say they miss their dada. However like many families, she chooses not to focus on the tough times. Taking these pictures is one of those more pleasant moments. For the Photographer, the experience is just as gratifying.

"It's interesting, It's fun. What I like about is that the families are so appreciative. Most of the time, we'll do a job where you send the pictures to a client. The rule is, if you haven't heard back from them in 24 hours, they didn't hate it. This time its right away. You know, with the kids you're showing them pictures and they're so excited," Photographer, John Bentham said.

"John and I both are not portrait photographers so when we take these pictures we take them at the premise that we both want to do something for the families. So that when they look at it, it makes them smile."

"When you get that personal photograph home from your family, that's something tangible that can stay with you. Even when you get off of skype or when you get off the telephone. So it's just priceless to our families," Gillum said.

You can support your troops through USO Gulf Coast by visiting www.uso.org/donategulfcoast or call 1-877-USO-GIVE.

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