Veterans Portrait Project provides free professional photos for Hoosier veterans

Veterans pose for portrait photos as part of national project

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Central Indiana veterans got a special treat Tuesday, for a mission complete.

The Veterans Portrait Project stopped in Indianapolis to provide veterans a snapshot of their service at Central Library downtown.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But these pictures are priceless.

“For me, it was always a special way to say thanks for their service,” Stacy Pearsall, said.

Pearsall, founder of the Veterans Portrait Project, is an Air Force veteran. While serving in Iraq, she was injured from multiple blast exposures that ended her military career.

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Determined, she picked up a camera and now travels the country taking free individual professional photos for veterans as part of Veterans Portrait Project’s Mission Complete Tour, which she founded in 2008.

“I set this crazy goal that I would photograph veterans in every state, thinking it would be a lifetime endeavor,” Pearsall said. “Here I am, 11 years later on my 47th state in Indiana and closing in on all 50.”

Since 2008, she’s photographed more than 7,000 veterans.

“I think that is amazing,” Kay Ross, a United States Marine veteran, said.

Pearsall shares the story of every person who sits with her, including U.S. Army veteran Linda Lewis-Everett.

“I told them I’m the seventh in my family to be in the military. I would think back over the older ones that did not receive this appreciation,” Lewis-Everett said. “So, I’m taking it all in for me and for them, generations past.”

Tuesday, around 25 veterans sat for free photos. It’s something special for Ross.

“Proud. I’m always proud to be a marine,” Ross said. “To have a little bit of acknowledgement for that, in this aspect, is really cool.”

This project is a healing process for Pearsall and she feels like it is for the veterans, as well.

“Without those men and women who laid their life on the altar of freedom, we would not be where we are today,” Pearsall said.

Pearsall’s next stops are Green Bay, Wisconsin, then Waterloo, Iowa.