Each year, in December it is my goal to reach out to our beautiful community and ask you to tell me about your loved ones. I want you to tell me about the people in your life who give so much and maybe need a little love given to them. I do this to honor the 26 people who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook School shooting on December 14, 2012. The memory of that day still makes my chest go tight and my mind spin. It still makes no sense, it never will, BUT if you have clicked on any of the facebook pages, Youtube videos or other ways parents have shared about their children you will learn these kids knew how to love and how to give. A photographer who wanted to remain nameless started the Olivia Act and photographers around the country jumped on.
“Dec. 14, 2012, is a date that will be etched in my memory forever. On that day, 26 people lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School, including 20 children, in what was one of our nations deadliest shootings. The images will haunt me for a long time. I cried and cried all weekend long, and I felt I should really do something. I had seen images of Olivia Engel and her family from a professional shoot they had done not that long before little Olivia was killed. I know how much that family must cherish these photos now; so, I thought it was so important to give back using my skill as a photographer. It started out with me just offering a free 30 min. family shoot to a family that might not otherwise have images made, but a lot of other photographers wanted to do the same. So, I created The Olivia Act. I challenge every photographer to do this for a family! You do NOT need to mention my name, just do this out of the goodness of your heart, no matter what city, state, or country you live in. It’s 30 min out of your life and can mean so much to a family.”
This year the call was put out and this community did not hold back. You shared, you shared good. I cried . I prayed and even cheered for each family nominated.
The family who won this years session had recently lost a very special member, leaving a space very hard to fill. Everyone I have spoken to says what a light Mary Demko was to everyone she came in contact with. I will let her daughter, Ashleigh share about her mom.
“My Moms story of Life-
Words will never describe the hole in not only my heart but my life! My mother was not only my “Ma” but she was truly my best friend! We shared a truly genuine one of a kind relationship, that most mothers and daughters will never find, not to mention the true love she found with each of my children. I always told her I would NEVER be able to go on without her and she has given me the strength and been by my side throughout this whole process. There is not a day that goes by I do not think of her or want to pick up the phone and call her, but knowing and feeling her right by my side has brought me comfort. My mother was looked up to by many and she had every right to be. You never met such a caring, devoted, patient, loving woman, my mother would give to others things she never in a million years could have given to herself! She would give to anyone in need even if that meant she had to go without. My wish for others is that they take a moment each day or each week and try to do something for another human being that may be in need. My mom Mary was not rich in the sense of money but she was the RICHEST woman I have ever known! To love whole hearted the way she did and to find the best in people when no one else would is what made my mother above the rest.
Ashleigh, I can say with no doubt you make your mom so very proud. I loved spending time with your beautiful family. xoxo
I hope the moments we captured here will have you smiling for years to come.