A few Sundays ago I drove up to Pt. Mugu Naval Base for an Operation:Love Reunited session with a wonderful family.  It was my first time at the base and I was really excited and, truth be told,  a little nervous (!), but these wonderful people put me immediately at ease.  They are so warm and loving and welcoming.

Chris is a pilot, and we started out at the hangar – SO COOL!!  I got to see his plane, and more importantly, I got to see his adorable sons in their little flight suits (just like daddy’s!) and I got to see how excited they were about seeing where daddy works.  Chris showed Ryan and Cameron lots of different things about the plane, and explained to them what each part did.   Ryan and Cameron are extremely happy, sweet boys, and I think this session counts as the most hugs I’ve ever gotten from a child that is not my own!

Then we went to the beach right near the hangar and took some great pics there.  In between snapping shots of the boys with their dad, I managed to get some of Chris and Debi together, and I have to say, these are my favorite from the session.  You can see where the love in this family comes from – it begins with the two of them.  The way they look at each other, and the way Debi smiles at Chris just melts my heart.

This was the first time I’ve done and OpLove session where the dad hadn’t been deployed yet, and I have to say it was extremely powerful for me.   I was so glad to finally be able to look a service member in the face and say “thank you” for the sacrifice that he and his family are making to keep our country safe.  Chris kept thanking me for doing this, for donating my time, and it totally choked me up.

Chris leaves in a few days on deployment, and I wish him a safe and swift return.  I know his family will miss him, but they will be so happy to see him come home!

Thank you, Chris, Debi, Ryan and Cameron for spending the afternoon with me, and thank you for all that you do.

*The photos and other content of this publication do not imply any endorsement or recommendation by the Department of Defense.

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