A photo shoot of seven Kentucky state troopers and their newborn babies is going viral, and we have their wives to thank for the sweet snap.
When the wives of the seven police officers had babies around the same time, they realized they needed to commemorate the coincidence. “The seven of us certainly did not plan to all have babies in the same time frame,” one of the moms, Melissa Sandusky, told Yahoo Lifestyle. Her son, Kenley, is 4 months old.
“Once we all became aware of the due dates, one of the mothers, Alison Chavies, sent out a group text to suggest that we could all have a picture taken together,” Sandusky recalled. The other six women agreed. “We just wanted to commemorate this special time in each of our lives that, coincidentally, we were all experiencing together,” she said. “The guys had a common ground of working together as troopers and now the wives have formed unique friendships to support each other during and after pregnancy.” They were already pretty close. “We already have a strong bond with one another being a part of the Kentucky State Police family, but now we get to celebrate new lives together, which is even more unique and special.”
So Sandusky called her family photographer, Vicky Puckett with HUEit Photography by Vicky Lea. “Once we agreed on a date — we had to wait until the youngest was born — Melissa organized getting custom onesies made for all the babies,” Puckett told Yahoo Lifestyle. The black-and-white onesies have an American flag on the front and their dad’s unit on the back. “There were five girls and two boys all under 6 months.” The youngest was 8 days old.
The photo that’s getting a ton of attention now is one of the troopers in uniform holding these tiny babies. But that almost didn’t happen. “Initially, we were thinking babies only, but the more we talked about it, we decided the dads needed to be included in their uniforms since that uniform is what binds us all together,” Sandusky said. “Then, after a little more discussion, we figured the moms should hop in a picture as well.”
So, all seven families gathered at an old building in downtown Georgetown, Ky., on Nov. 18. Puckett first captured the babies being held by their dads, next being cradled by both parents, then on a blanket in a circle with a trooper hat in the middle, as well as the babies lying in a line with each one in front of Dad’s hat.
And the photographer did the whole thing for free. “She didn’t charge anything for the session or the photos,” Sandusky said. “She was completely excited about capturing these sweet babies and their dads who do so much to serve and protect our state.”
Puckett was happy to give them this gift since they give so much all the time to protect and serve others. “We decided to do this to show our appreciation for them,” she said. “The first responders are out saving every day, and sometimes we forget about them coming home to these precious babies and their families.”
Puckett posted the photos on Facebook that day, and her post has 900 reactions and hundreds of shares. Local news outlets can’t get enough of it.
However, the families never expected all this attention. “We never even made mention of that in our moms’ group text,” Sandusky said. “We really just wanted the photos as a cool memory for our families.” She and Puckett joked about the possibility of it going viral. “We expected some attention in Kentucky,” she said.
Kentucky is blessed with the watchful eyes of the Kentucky State Police for seven days a week, 365 days a year! This…
The Kentucky State Police department agrees. “We are all very excited about this photograph,” Sgt. Josh Lawson of the Public Affairs Branch of the Kentucky State Police told Yahoo Lifestyle. “It is a great representation of who is out there behind the badge serving our communities. In this instance, we can’t name all of those in the photograph, and similarly, so many of our troopers go their entire careers without recognition for the exemplary work that they do, they do so without asking for recognition. These are seven fathers who put on this uniform and put their safety and personal comfort second to citizens of the commonwealth they serve. We are proud of each and every one of them, as are their children and their families.”
The positive response inspired Puckett to create a giveaway for first responders. “After the session, my husband and I decided we wanted to continue to show our appreciation to first responders,” she said. “We decided to give away seven free mini-sessions to seven first responders at random.” She chose that number because of the seven families who inspired her in the first place.
This wasn’t the only first-responder photo shoot going viral over the holiday. On Thanksgiving, the Phoenix Fire Department shared a photo of eight babies lying in a circle on firefighter jackets. “Here at PFD we have so much to be thankful for. At the top of our list are these 8 beautiful new additions to the PFD Family,” the post read.
The photo, which was posted on Thanksgiving Day, was taken by Alana Penrod of Wildbird Photography. The babies are the children of six female and two male Phoenix firefighters who all happened to be expecting around the same time. And there were even more newborns in the Phoenix Fire Department family who couldn’t make it to the shoot.
Here at PFD we have so much to be thankful for. At the top of our list are these 8 beautiful new additions to the PFD…
“I’m a birth photographer, and one of the female firefighters was a client of mine,” Penrod told Yahoo Lifestyle. “I captured the delivery of her son, and once I followed up with her to photograph some newborn photos, she had mentioned how multiple firefighters at different Phoenix stations had recently had babies. She thought it would be a good idea to have some photos of all the recently born babies on top of their parent’s turnout jacket,” she said. “We planned out a day, a group chat was created, matching onesies were ordered and the photo shoot was a success!”
She really wanted to show that firefighters live happy lives. “I think it’s common to see stories about first responders that often have intense and sometimes unfortunate undertones regarding their daily duties,” Penrod said. “It’s nice to see another side to their lives and celebrate something as exciting as a bunch of babies being born and joining these families.”
That it was mostly female firefighters was another reason she really wanted to do this shoot. “I think it’s important to highlight the fact that women can enjoy their careers as first responders and still be amazing mothers,” Penrod said. “They’re heroes both on the job and at home.”
Like Puckett, Penrod was surprised when the photo spread like wildfire. “I was not expecting for this to get the attention that it has,” she said. “I knew the parents and I loved the photos, and I’m so happy to see that others do too. These parents are incredible, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be able to celebrate them in some way.”
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