- Associated Press - Friday, July 10, 2015

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) - Will Reynolds hadn’t seen his wife, Nikki, or their daughter, Mackenzie, since he was deployed more than three months ago.

And, for security purposes, Nikki isn’t permitted to know where Will is stationed, which makes it feel as if he is even farther away, the Southeast Missourian (https://bit.ly/1HFHuWc ) reported.

But if anything could make his deployment easier on him, Nikki thought, the sight of his baby girl toddling around the Mississippi riverfront - the same spot where he proposed to his wife - would be it.

So when she heard about Jackson photographer Stephanie Goddard’s “Glimpse of Home” projects, she signed up.

“I just heard about it through social media and referrals,” she explained. “We thought it sounded perfect.”

Goddard is a physical therapist who specializes in helping the elderly, and began a photography business on the side when her portrait-taking hobby became a passion.

“Glimpse of Home” is a personalized photography project that Goddard began about four years ago, designed to give back to those who sacrifice in service of the United States. When a friend was killed overseas, she resolved to help in any way she could.

“We lost our neighbor in Afghanistan,” she explained. “He took the place of a man who was married with kids to do a second tour. It’s people like that that I want to serve.”

So she sends care packages full of books, magazines, and candies, along with a pocket-size picture album full of photos of loved ones that she takes.

“I wanted it to be something that they could have with them at all times if they wanted it,” Goddard said. “I started it just as a service to our military, because they’re there and I’m not.”

For the Reynoldses, she included some of Will’s favorite places around Cape Girardeau: Broussard’s, the Broadway Biergarten and the Sigma Nu fraternity house where he lived during his time at Southeast Missouri State University.

Goddard has been able to do about two “Glimpse of Home” projects per year since she began, but quickly learned that even in a pro-bono operation like “Glimpse,” the most difficult step is often merely making connections with deployed soldiers’ families. She said that having called military bases, barracks and veterans’ organizations, social media has proved the most effective tool.

“I’m hoping that the more projects I do, the more people might hear about it,” she said. “I’d like to be able to grow it bigger to be able to serve more people.”

Because, she explained, they do make a difference to soldiers. She said the most gratifying thing that has happened to her because of the “Glimpse” projects has been a letter she received from a soldier who had just received his photo album.

“He said he was in a very dark time and it got him through because it reminded him what he was fighting for,” she said.

And seeing soldiers’ families, even through a camera lens, helps remind Goddard what servicemen and servicewomen are fighting for as well.

“It’s important to do what you can (to help those overseas),” she said. “God gives you gifts and you use those gifts to serve others.”

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Information from: Southeast Missourian, https://www.semissourian.com


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