Through my work as a wedding photographer, I often get to share in special family moments. A week ago, I heard a beautiful tribute to a father, and I just have to share it.
The father was Joseph Pervan, and the tribute came from his new daughter-in-law, Jackie. Unfortunately, Joe was never able to meet Jackie, as he died of cancer six years ago. But Jackie feels that she got to know Joe through his son, Mike.
After all the other toasts at her wedding reception, Jackie took the floor and told us how much she loved a man she'd never met. She explained how she saw the reflection of Joe in her new husband, Mike and his wonderful family. She wished with all her heart that Joe could be there to see his youngest child getting married because his favorite thing in the world was a great wedding.
There were a lot of tears among Joe's family and friends as Jackie spoke, but she didn't end on a sad note. She knew Joe wanted them to celebrate this day, and, second to weddings, Joe really loved Elvis. So she announced that the first song of the night was "Jailhouse Rock" in his honor.
The song began, Jackie and Mike busted out their moves, and guests rushed to join in.
I want to thank Jackie for her courage and thoughtfulness in sharing about Joe. She had me nearly sobbing behind the camera, but she still managed to make me smile at the end with her exuberant dance moves. It was truly the perfect tribute to Joe.
Jackie and Mike also made a donation to the American Cancer Society in Joe's honor.
Just yesterday, I found out about another beautiful gesture that I want to share. This one involved my own Dad.
My Dad lost his father in a car accident when he was nine-years-old. He recently learned that a high-school girl named Noelle lost her father and 13-year-old sister in a car accident last winter. The younger sister's 4-H group decided to raise a pig on her behalf and auction it to raise funds for Noelle's college tuition.
My Dad asked some friends and business colleagues if they would help him bid on the pig to support Noelle. They gathered at the fair grounds, split into two groups, and proceeded to bid the pig up to $71 per pound, which meant more than $20,00 for Noelle. Then the auctioneer asked if anyone else would like to make donations, and more people joined in. Altogether, seventeen people raised over $31,000 for Noelle.
You can read the whole story here: Record Eagle article
I'm so proud of my Dad for organizing these efforts, and I join him in hoping that the support and love of all these people will help lift the load for Noelle and her family.
Thanks to Jackie and Mike for showing us how to honor and celebrate a family member, even when we miss them like crazy. And thanks to my Dad for reminding us to reach out and support those around us who've lost a loved one.