I come from a proud Air Force family.
While I didn't end up joining the service myself, I still feel tremendous pride in my military roots, and to be asked to photograph the Suerdieck family in celebration of Lieutenant Colonel Suerdieck's retirement from the USAF (including the ceremony!) was a tremendous honor.
I met this incredible, intelligent, kind family when I had the opportunity to teach music to two of their children while I taught middle school band. This family is the epitome of who you want serving our country. They are everything the red, white, and blue stands for and more. Even their extended family celebrated the upcoming event by wearing primarily shades of blue and white to the photo session!
Excitement buzzed in the air as we met in Black Forest the morning of the ceremony to capture some extended family photos. Having family all gathered together always brings about some energy and excitement, and even more so when the gathering centers around such an important event. The warm July morning was clear and sunny, and it was wonderful to beat the heat as we enjoyed making memories under the canopy of the Ponderosa Pine forest! Laughter rang through the trees as different groups of people awaited their turn in front of the camera. That laughter and joy is my absolute favorite aspect of extended family sessions!
Once photos were complete, the family departed to prepare for the ceremony, where we met up on base a few hours later, followed by a wonderful celebration at the Suerdieck home which they were SO gracious to invite me and my family to.
While this event happened over a year ago now, it's wonderful to look back on these sweet memories as I've recently visited with this sweet family again and enjoyed hearing how they are doing in their new chapter of life (hint: very well, very happy!) and their oldest daughter follows in her parents' footsteps as she takes on leadership roles in the FHS Space Force JROTC! So proud!