I’m an Air Force combat veteran and pilot by trade. I served for ten years, which included two deployments to Afghanistan. Towards the end of that ten years I realized that I needed a different pace in my life, so in 2012 I bought a 27-foot sailboat and sailed from North Carolina to the Caribbean. I was telling the story of the adventure through photography, which has interested me since high school. This was a life-changing experience, and one that I still continue on a part-time basis.
During the journey I accidentally stumbled upon a small island off the coast of Haiti. I was introduced to an NGO that has been helping them improve educational and nutritional programs on their island. At that time I only considered myself a landscape photographer, but the experience in Haiti really brought about a passion for documentary photography and working with NGOs. I'm still involved with this group today, in addition to a number of other conservation and humanitarian groups.
I call Lake Tahoe home and enjoy all of the year-round activities offered in this mountain paradise. These include backpacking, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, sailing, and kayaking. I also volunteer on two search and rescue teams when I'm not traveling.
1. What makes you passionate about helping X-SUBA Sport4Development Uganda?
I owe a lot of my own opportunities & success to the sports programs that my parents got me into when I was young. I was very active in soccer (or football, for the rest of the world), cross-country running, golf, and track & field. Each of these activities contributed different elements to my growth. All of them taught me about teamwork, responsibility, goal-setting, physical fitness, and mindfulness. I made some great friends and was an overall better person thanks to these programs.
Now it's my turn to be a part of providing the same opportunities to other children. Programs like X-SUBA are especially important in underprivileged communities, where alternative activities can be crippling to their potential. Everyone deserves chances like this, but not everyone has access.
2. How do you believe your photography can make a difference for them?
Photography is an incredibly powerful tool. I've seen first-hand with other NGOs I've worked with how photography can help tell a story, demonstrate the NGO's potential, and spur others to support their mission. I'm looking forward to being a part of their team for a couple of weeks. I can't wait to show the rest of the world what they're doing, the impact it's making in the lives of others, and their plans for the future. Even just being there and showing the children that there is an outside interest in them will help inspire them.
3. What message would you like to send to your supporters?
Everyone can personally relate to a program like X-SUBA because we've all been touched by similar programs whether we realize it or not. All of us have participated in some kind of organized activity, be it sports, arts, computers, etc., that has influenced who we are today. We all owe our success, in one way or another, to a mentor or activity that taught us these necessary life skills. Invest in the future of the world and pay it forward.