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Local Photographer Donates Time To Show Appreciation For Troops

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Of all the personal items troops carry into combat, they say that few are as dear as family photos.

That's how a local photographer is showing his appreciation for the troops here on the homefront.

Shelia Vitalis is in training at Fort Bragg, preparing for a possible call-up for duty as part of 535th Military Police Battalion.

It may be a while before she sees her family again.

When she goes, pictures will be a treasured reminder of home. So she picked a few for a Raleigh photographer to copy.

"These were the ones she selected, so obviously they had a lot of meaning to her," photographer David Hughes said as he cropped and digitally enhanced the pictures - a job that normally would cost Vitalis more than $150.

When Vitalis told Hughes why she needed the copies made, Hughes said, "I think I decided right then that I would just do this for her."

Hughes and other photographers are also planning to take free portraits for military families in Jacksonville, N.C., later this month "so that they can mail them off to their loved ones overseas."

Members of the Photographers Society of the Triangle will be at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Jacksonville on April 19. Family members of deployed Marines will be able to get free portraits taken between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Hughes said it was appreciation for the job that servicemen and servicewomen do that moved him to do what he could do.

"They're doing a wonderful job for the country," he said, "and it's a small thing on my behalf."


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