The nationally acclaimed Veterans Portrait Project is coming to the Northern Vermont Veterans Expo in St. Albans, Vermont to honor and thank area veterans with a complimentary portrait session on Aug. 10, 2019
ST. ALBANS, VT -- Decorated military photographer and disabled combat veteran, Stacy Pearsall, will be taking complimentary individual photographs of veterans as part of her Veterans Portrait Project onSaturday, Aug. 10 at the Northern Vermont Veterans Expo at American Legion Post 1, 100 Parah Drive, St. Albans.
This is the first-ever appearance for the Veterans Portrait Project in Vermont.
Presented by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs South Burlington Vet Center and VA Health Care, the Northern Vermont Veterans Expo will also feature local, state and federal benefits for veterans and their family members. Lunch will be provided courtesy of the American Legion. Flu shots for veterans will be provided by Walgreens.
The expo is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. VA outreach specialists will be on site to answer questions about VA benefits. Veterans are encouraged to bring their DD Form 214, “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty,” to assist VA representatives in determining their eligibility for VA benefits, to include an opportunity to apply for VA health care.
During the expo, Pearsall will be available to photograph veterans to honor them for their service, share and preserve their stories and raise awareness regarding veterans’ issues.
Veterans are encouraged to reserve a portrait session online at the Veterans Portrait Project registration page at https://veteransportraitproject.wordpress.com/2019-vpp-schedule/st-albans-vt/. There are limited appointments and it is first come, first served. For more information, please contact Stacy Pearsall at RSVPtheVPP@gmail.com.
Pearsall served as an Air Force aerial combat photojournalist from 1998 until 2008 when an injury sustained while serving in Iraq in 2007 ultimately ended her career. During her time in service, she traveled to 41 countries and documented the military story. “One of my greatest honors has been sharing the stories of the men and women on the front lines,” she said, “And I continue that privilege through the Veterans Portrait Project.”
Pearsall was medically retired from service after injuries from multiple blast exposures left her unqualified for further deployments. During rehabilitation at her hometown Charleston, SC, VA medical center, she was inspired to get the camera back in her hands. “I was fixated on all the things the doctors told me I couldn’t do anymore,” she explains. “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 or who I was without a uniform and a camera. Then I met Mickey Dorsey.”
WWII veteran and VA volunteer, Mickey Dorsey, saw Pearsall sitting alone in a VA waiting room and approached her. “This elderly man sat down next to me,” she recalls. “I could see him in my peripheral vision and I began to get upset. Instead of scolding him for staring, I turned and engaged him in conversation. Turns out he was the hero who inspired me to found the Veterans Portrait Project. I didn’t want Mickey’s, or any other veterans’ story, to go untold.”
Despite doctor’s orders, Pearsall began taking portraits of fellow veterans. It was then she discovered her new purpose. “I realized I didn’t need to wear a uniform to serve,” said. “To keep my mind on the future, and my body in motion, I set a crazy goal to photograph veterans in every state. This year I will be ‘Mission Complete.’”
Like the more than 7,500 veterans Pearsall has photographed previously, Vermont veterans will have the opportunity to sit in her studio, share their stories and walk away with a professional, fine art portrait they can proudly display and share with their loved ones and friends. Moreover, their portrait will join the growing collection of portraits online at www.VeteransPortraitProject.com and may also be featured in a future exhibition similar to the shows she presently has on display at the Pentagon, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center Hall of Heroes.