Columbia County photographer honors service members, veterans with free photo sessions

[anvplayer video=”5069823″ station=”998132″]

STOTTVILLE – "A picture is worth a thousand words." It’s a saying familiar to many.

An adoring look, a warm embrace, or a face full of laughter, the camera catches it all.

When Army Sergeant First Class Gregory Leavitt and Steven Panyan, a tech sergeant in the Air Force, look back at photos taken of their families this Veterans Day, their hearts will be full.

"I think we will just remember the great day that we had, and the whole experience of it," Panyan said.

"We love to look back on them. It makes me happy to, you know, be here with the kids," Leavitt added.

Kelly Hodges, who owns Kelly Lynn Photography, was behind the camera giving free photo sessions to Panyan, Leavitt, and three other veterans or active duty service members and their families.

Both Leavitt and his son say it is one of the best things they could have received.

"This is something different, because it is something you can take with you. It is something you can look back on. It is something you can have forever," he said.

"If he was to get deployed, and we had these photos, and something bad happened, we could remember him by that," his 11-year-old son added.

As for her part, Kelly likes to stay behind the camera, but is hoping this story will inspire others.

"I’m hoping that it may encourage other people to show their appreciation," Kelly said. "What they do for us is so beyond anything that we are able to give back, but even those small things that we do, it really means a lot to them.

Both Panyan and Leavitt say they are so thankful for the memories that will last a lifetime.