Red Dirt Diaries: Shawnee Photographer Honors Service Members

Friday, April 26th 2019, 9:10 pm
By: Karl Torp

A Shawnee mother has turned her passion into a way to forever immortalize those who served our country.

It started as a way that photographer Jessie Newell could show gratitude to her grandfather.

Newell’s father died when she was very young, and she was raised by her grandfather.

“My giving part of my heart comes from my grandpa,” said Newell, who owns Bird Nest Baby Photography.

As a way of saying thank you to her grandfather, Newell started giving free photography sessions to World War II veterans at her Shawnee home and studio.

“All these kids think super heroes wear capes and they don't. They wear uniforms,” said Newell.

“I feel honored to get some kind of recognition,” said World War II veteran Carl Warington.

“It’s awesome,” said World Warr II veteran Glen Winter who got his picture taken with his brother, who is also a World War II vet.

Jessie has opened up her free photo shoots to veterans of all wars and does free sessions for active members as well.

“It would be therapy for them. I think it’s an excellent idea and it can help,” said Vietnam veteran Ken Stuteville.

Many of the pictures are taken outside with veterans holding their old service pictures or medals they were awarded.

In her studio sessions, Newell has World War II veterans hold a newspaper from August 15, 1945 with the headline “Peace.”

The newspaper is superimposed to make it appear several feet taller than the veterans themselves in other pictures.

“It’s a glorious wonderful thing that she is doing,” said World War II veteran Arvel Winter.

To see Newell’s work or schedule a photo shoot you can visit her Facebook page here.