OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- A former military combat photographer has created a goal to photograph as many veterans across the nation as she can. So far, she has visited 49 states, photographing and documenting many veterans and their unique stories, leaving only one state to go -- Nebraska.
Retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Stacy Pearsall chose to complete her project in the same place she began her military career in 1997, at Offutt AFB.
Pearsall is returning to the Omaha Metro, area to honor veterans with a complimentary portrait session, on Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, at the Military Veterans Services Center at Bellevue University.
Pearsall spent eleven years documenting military stories. While serving in Iraq in 2007, she was injured from multiple blast exposures and was medically retired in 2008.
“I was fixated on all the things the doctors told me I couldn’t do anymore,” said Pearsall. “They said I couldn’t stand for prolonged periods or hold and lift a camera all day. I felt defeated and without purpose. I didn’t know who I’d be without a uniform and a camera.”
While receiving rehabilitation at a Veteran’s Affairs medical center in Charleston, South Carolina, she met Mickey Dorsey, a World War II veteran and VA volunteer. His story inspired her to establish the Veterans Portrait Project to share and honor their service while preserving their unique stories.
“I realized I didn’t need to wear a uniform to serve,” said Pearsall. “To keep my mind on the future and my body in motion, I set this crazy goal.”
Pearsall, an author, educator, and decorated combat veteran, has continued working through her disabilities and remains an avid photographer, documenting and telling the stories of over 7,500 veterans thus far. Her photographs can be viewed online at www.veteransportraitproject.com
For more information visit: https://veteransportraitproject.wordpress.com/2019-vpp-schedule/omaha.ne