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“A Soldier’s Special Surprise”

Here are a few of my favorite shots from Saturday Night’s Surprise Reunion between Brittany Daghita and her Husband, Army Specialist Joey Daghita! She didn’t have a clue that he was back home to be a part of this recognition ceremony during the first Intermission of the Elmira Jackals hockey game @ First Arena in Elmira, NY ….

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“LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, PLEASE JOIN ME IN WELCOMING OUR GUEST OF HONOR TONIGHT, BRITTANY DAGHITA. BRITTANY, A NATIVE OF ITHACA, WAS MARRIED TO HER HUSBAND, ARMY SPECIALIST JOEY DAGHITA OF TRUMANSBURG, IN MAY 2013 JUST MONTHS BEFORE HIS THIRD TOUR OF DUTY TO KUWAIT. BRITTANY AND JOEY GREW UP CHILDHOOD FRIENDS AND THEIR FAMILIES SPENT A LOT OF TIME TOGETHER. UPON JOEY’S DEPLOYMENT TO KUWAIT IN SEPTEMBER 2013 BRITTANY MOVED FROM FORT RUCKER, ALABAMA TO ITHACA TO BE CLOSER TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

TONIGHT WE HONOR AND RECOGNIZE BRITTANY, AND ON BEHALF OF ALL MILITARY FAMILY MEMBERS, FOR HER COMMITMENT TO AND SUPPORT OF THOSE IN OUR ARMED FORCES.

(THIS IS WHERE BRITTANY WILL POSE FOR PHOTOS FROM RICK BACMANSKI AND MUG FOR THE CAMERAS SO THAT WE CAN SNEAK JOEY UP BEHIND HER)

WAIT, WAIT LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. I’VE JUST BEEN PASSED A NOTE THAT WE HAVE ADDED A SPECIAL GUEST OF HONOR FOR TONIGHT. BRITTANY, IT TURNS OUT THAT WE NEEDED YOU HERE TO HELP US WELCOME HOME, FROM HIS TOUR OF DUTY IN KUWAIT, OUR SPECIAL GUEST OF HONOR TONIGHT – YOUR HUSBAND, ARMY SPECIALIST JOEY DAGHITA!!!!!!

“Every soldier deserves a hero’s welcome,” says a popular ad on TV.

In that spirit, a soldier just back from the Middle East was saluted at Elmira’s First Arena on Saturday night, and his wife was given the surprise of her life.

Army Spc. Albert “Joey” Daghita, of Trumansburg, and his wife, Brittany, of Ithaca, were reunited in an on-ice ceremony between the first and second period of the Elmira Jackals’ hockey game against the South Carolina Stingrays.

Brittany, who was told she would be recognized for her support of those in the military, said later she was taken completely by surprise when her husband walked up behind her in his camouflage uniform as the crowd — which included about 25 relatives and friends — cheered.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “It was amazing.”

Asked later how he felt before the ceremony, the 22-year-old soldier said, “Very nervous. I didn’t know how she was going to react.” Then he added, “My heart was beating a thousand beats a minute.”

“Mine was too,” said Brittany, who is 23. “Mine was, definitely.”

Although everyone was able to keep the reunion a surprise, the evening didn’t go exactly as planned. Originally, the script called for Brittany to drop the ceremonial first puck before the start of the game and to then be joined by her husband.

But Joey Daghita was delayed getting from Alabama, where he’s based at Fort Rucker, to the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. He said he had to drive to Atlanta, where there was a slight delay, and then had a layover in Philadelphia. After he arrived at Ithaca, he was driven by a state trooper directly to the arena, a trip that he said took about 20 minutes at speeds of over 90 mph.

Joey returned to his unit at Fort Rucker on Feb. 20 after completing his third tour in Kuwait. He was deployed in September, just four months after the couple was married. He said he spent some time in Afghanistan during his deployments.

When he was shipped out this time, Brittany returned to Ithaca to stay with her parents, Debbie and Frank Lupo, and to be close to other relatives and friends.

 

“The Diner” Couldn’t Be Finer!

Early this afternoon I had lunch with some family & friends just around the corner from the Studio. Actually, they had lunch & I had a great omelet breakfast at Horseheads’ newest old eatery, now known as “The Diner”.
In a past life,  this was formerly “Sullivan’s Diner” owned & operated by my lifelong friend Artie Sullivan’s Mom & Dad, Fran & Art Sullivan, who rescued it…the old “Vick’s Diner” from Madison Ave. in Downtown Elmira after the great flood of ’72. They lovingly filled many “Horseheadian’s” bellies for well over 30 years.
Recently though, the Diner was given a new life when it was purchased & completely & painstakingly renovated, modernized & updated, while still maintaining that original old time classic diner “feel”. The new owner is my friend & also my in-laws neighbor, Tom Witzel,  who also happens to be a die hard N.Y. Yankees fan. You would never guess that fact after seeing the new color scheme both inside with the new tile & countertops, & outside complete with reverse Yankee Blue Pinstriping on the fabric of the front awnings.
Anyways, the food was great! And even though Tom was filling in for an under the weather waitress, the service was great & friendly as well! Do yourself a favor and stop by sometime…. you’ll be glad you did!
In case anyone was wondering, that’s Sue & George Yamasaki sitting across the booth from me.
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All Aboard!!!

Last scan of the night….year unknown, A Lehigh Valley Train with Engine # 25454 at the Horseheads, NY  RR Station. You can just see the “…EADS” on the sign hanging from the center of the stations rafters. Neat Shot!
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Horseheads High Hoopsters – 109 Years Ago!

Scanning some never before seen old glass negatives from the Horseheads Historical Society Archives (I’m on the Board) and I came across this beauty from 1904. Wow! What? No Nikes?
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Frame From The Fog

All day today I had the pleasure to shoot & chronicle the delivery, installation & final mounting and presentation of a remarkably beautifully piece of art at the Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, NY. This great painting, Mt. Whitney, painted by Albert Bierstadt,  got a brand new custom made, period accurate frame that reflects the period accurate style & grandeur of the 1860’s- 1870’s when this painting was created. A group of talented Framing Artisians from Manhattan NYC, who themselves hand crafted this one of a kind $70,000 Masterpiece Frame, were on hand to handle the painstaking set-up, fitting and installation of this remarkable piece of art. It was a very interesting day watching this collaboration all come together! A job well done by everyone involved!
PS: After looking at that next to last image of all the guys raising that painting up on the wall….the way some of them have their hands and arms outstretched reminds me of the famous flag raising shot from Iwo Jima in World War II.

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Dust In The Wind….

Friday…. it was a long, fun & special day. Up at 7:00 am believe  it or not…..out at 8:30 & off to a HUGE Estate Sale – to sell everything from the house in which my friends Jason, Angela & Clara spent so many years in – The house had been in their Maternal Grandfather’s Mother’s family –  they are assuming it was somewhere around 200 years – a lot of generations of people in one family who never really moved things out – just found places to store the things that currently weren’t being used. As my tribute to my above mentioned friends, today I took this journey through time, with my camera lens to my eye, as I ventured to capture a few telling images of these items. Items frozen in time for ages…….un-earthed & brought out and into the brilliant sunlight of today, to be found, claimed & enjoyed in the future by new owners. Enjoy!

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“Let’s Give Cancer The Boot!”

A few favorites from tonight’s volunteer gig, my fourth or fifth already,  as Official Event Photographer for the 2013 North Chemung County American Cancer Society Relay For Life event at Thorne Street Park in Horseheads, NY.
Great People, Great Time, Great Cause!

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Comedy…On Tap

@ First Arena Comedy Club Thursday Nights throughout the summer@ The New First Arena! Tonight’s Headliner – Tim Joyce. Enjoy Drinks, Dinner along with a few laughs….Dinner menu available from our full kitchen staff at The Comedy Club Thursday Nights Downtown!

The Pack Horse Unveiling

Horseheads’ Military Pack Horse Finally Comes Home

Earlier this afternoon just down the street from my 211 Studio & in front of the Horseheads Village Hall, I found all the Village Chain Gang Crew preparing for tomorrow’s unveiling of Horseheads’ newest monument to our past…. a bronze, life-sized 400+ lb. Military Pack Horse Statue.  My buddy Mikie Burke was even giving the Horse a “Horsicure?” with his grinder, just prior to it’s being carried over & set on it’s final place of honor. Horseheads is the first & only Village & Town in the United States dedicated to the service of the Military Pack Horse. Try to find time on your Saturday schedules to come to the formal dedication tomorrow, May 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM at the Horseheads Village Hall on South Main Street.

Looking at the first image… kinda reminds me of the last time I saw a horse that rigid, stiff & stretched out like that….was in Dean Wormer’s Office  @ Faber College, in that classic scene from Animal House!

 

 

 

 

 

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