Sergeant First Class Shafer... Meet Your Son!

Being engaged to a soldier, you will often find me watching videos of military homecomings.  Beautiful families being reunited, children surprised at community events and, of course, my favorite, the first time a baby meets their daddy.  However, Friday, I was blessed to be a part of this heartwarming event first hand as Superior, WI welcomed home 95 soldiers from 950th Engineering Company after ten months deployment in Afghanistan.

On this day, it was the Shafer family, excitedly awaiting the return of their husband, father, and son.  There are no words to adequately describe the grace and beauty Amanda carried as she attended to every detail, from her perfectly manicured nails, to the personalized shirts the boys were wearing.  The bundles of energy played joyfully with others, excited by the crowds and activity, while the youngest Shafer simply slept the time away in the stroller.  (Well... until, Daddy arrived, then it was all smiles!)  To look into that beautiful baby face, you saw the face of his father and the recognition as each smiled in declaration... 'I know you'!   This was the first time they would meet, but watching them together, you realized they have known each other for some time.

To the Shafer family, I want to simply say thank you for sharing this day with me.  I was honored to share in this moment and will forever remember this experience as excitedly say "Welcome Home" to Sergeant First Class William Shafer and the soldiers of the 950th EnCo.

~ Caroline Anne

The Shafer's were interviewed by Fox 21 TV as part of their coverage of this exciting event.   Click on the link below and watch the video!

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon - The Stolp Family

Over the past several years, I have become more and more ingrained in the culture of military life - both the pride of being a soldier's family, but also the pain of worrying about what it is they are called to do.  With that in mind, I have aligned my work with many noteworthy programs aimed at helping military families.   Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and Operation Love Reunited are just two, and the great organizations that brought the Stolp Family in front of my camera.

Army Specialist Stolp and his family soon ready for his second deployment, this time in support of Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait. While they have navigated the difficulty of separation before, this time it was especially hard as he and his wife, Kimberly, were enjoying time with their very young 18 month old twin boys.

So, with orders on the table, it meant we were working quickly to get in a session to not only give Stolp photographs of his beautiful family to take with him, but also for his young children to have here at home to keep his presence with them.

So, as I sit in my home tonight, safe and sound, I will think of Stolp and what his wife, Colleen, and their children Mackinzee, Kylee, Zakary and Carter are sacrificing for others.  The next seven months will not be easy, but we will excitedly look forward to the turn of the year when we can enjoy a homecoming session to welcome him home!