Family is everything. We hear people say all the time they value life and the sanctuary of family. In our country more than ever we see the importance of family ring from the voices of our communities calling for support. Honestly, though I cannot imagine pulling up to my 16-year-old daughters school with questions in my heart if she survived the day. I don’t mean passing exams or a grade on a lengthy research paper. I literally mean, and I can’t believe this is a real thing, surviving a classmate or anyone for that matter shooting up the halls she walks everyday between classes. But, during 23 incidents in 2018 our nation’s children had more than a math assignment to worry about when heading off to school.
On February 14, 2018, I watched my friend Kelly McFarland describe her terror on Instagram as she picked up her children from an elementary school mere blocks away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In the weeks to come we would have some discussions that evolved to us trying to provide some comfort to families and first responders in Parkland, Florida.
In March 2018, Kelly McFarland and I put out the call to pro-sports families to bring some comfort to families traumatized during the shooting Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD). As a family photographer, I value the importance of capturing every moment with those we love. I tell my clients all the time, “One day, this may be the most important portrait you own of your mother or father.” As a parent though, I cannot imagine the brokenness in the parents in Parkland looking at their children’s portraits think the very same thought.
Among the many wonderful NHL families who have responded, Mike and Courtney Green with the Detroit Red Wings, stood out for us. Like all our supporters so far, Mike and Courtney walk the walk of being a family and are quick to give aid where it is needed. The MSD project offers Wives and Families in the NHL a family portrait package at half off my regular rates and a second package given in their name to a family of MSD or first responder in Parkland, Florida. I also gave away a print and digital collection package normally sold separately to both families.
Although The Greens and I attempted to schedule a family session for them in both Detroit and near their summer Canadian home, their rigorous summer travel schedule made it not possible for them to do a session of their own. This is where the difference came for these damn decent human beings. The fact they were unable to have a portrait session of their own did not stop Mike and Courtney from throwing their support toward MSD. The couple decided to purchase a BOGO package and give both packages to families in Parkland.
These two bring a strong and true value to the meaning of family and not just love for their own, but yours too. If you follow either one of them on Instagram, you would see their commitment to their family is above all the most important thing in the world to them. Courtney, who is an amazing photographer in her own right, gives a bird’s eye view into the unconditional love they have for their son and each other. The pro sports world can be a soup of chaos at times, but their commitment is most certainly to a healthy and happy life with their family. It only makes sense, getting to know Courtney, they would extend that kind of love to make the world a better place to reside. We need more humans walking the plant with hearts like that.
To some, a portrait may seem like a trivial thing. But, to someone who has lost a parent, child, or someone they love so much a portrait brings the lost to life and gives eternal life to the living. It is the closest thing in life we have to a time machine. For one moment, we can freeze a look and expression, or a connection. We can heal a broken heart and give joy to the gleeful. The Green’s recognize the importance of this “little thing” and they were committed to doing what they could do with the time they had. We will be catching up in the future at some point to photograph a session of their own, but in the meantime they have given their package to an MSD family.
In September, I will be in Parkland, Florida for two weeks photographing families thanks to the selfless acts on behalf of several NHL families, active and retired, like Mike and Courtney Green. Kelly and I may not be able to bring back those that were lost during such a traumatic time, but maybe we can offer some comfort for the years to come.
WAGS for MSD
If you are interested in more information about the MSD Project in collaboration with NHL Florida Panthers Hockey Wife, Kelly McFarland, or you would like to participate in the WAGS for MSD BOGO project visit Click Here
If you enjoyed this article about Mike and Courtney Green and would like to learn more, visit:
DOING IT RIGHT : The Life of a Hockey Wife COURTNEY PARRIE GREEN ⋆ Her Write Peace
She is shutter speed. She is the lens opening up the scene to her light. In time, she captures your raw, your essence. She is soaking up your story like a sponge and lighting you up like an uncompromising presence. A moment frozen. She strikes quickly and softly.