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Local Photographers Provide Free Memories for Military Families

6:57 PM, Nov 30, 2011   |    comments
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  • Photo Courtesy of: Jess Cumbie Photography
  • Photo Courtesy of: Jess Cumbie Photography

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  It's a job that fell in Jess Cumbie's lap five years ago and she hasn't looked back since.

"Getting them to laugh and smile and things like that is the most rewarding part of my job," she said.

She captures moments on camera, and lately those moments feature military members and their families.

"Looked it up and decided it was something I really wanted to get involved with," said Cumbie.  

Cumbie, who is from Jacksonville, is one of more than 800 photographers around the world involved with Operation Love Reunited.  The non-profit organization teams families up with photographers for two free photo sessions that capture precious memories.

"You can do it before your loved one leaves for deployment, a family session while he's gone and whenever he's coming home, that reuniting," said Cumbie.

Operation Love Reunited was started in 2006 by Tonee Lawrence, whose own husband served overseas.  She started the business to help other families cope through what can be a tough time.  The photos can also be sent overseas to soldiers to help boost morale.

There have been plenty of memories captured by Cumbie's lens.
"You can't explain that feeling...It can get emotional," said Cumbie.

Being able to provide free photo keepsakes makes the job that fell in her lap, that much more rewarding.

There are several photographers on the First Coast participating with Operation Love Reunited.  For more information or to find a photographer, visit

First Coast News

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