I am so blessed to blog about this amazing couple today!
I photographed Mindy & Anthony’s wedding last winter (and you can check out the post here!). From the moment I met Mindy, I knew that she was SO in love with her groom! I found out quickly that Anthony was about to be deployed to Afghanistan, and they were getting married only weeks before he would leave.
My heart was stirred by this kind of love, the kind of love that promises on such uncertain ground.
I know every love is uncertain, but to know this bride knew that the love of her life was risking his life – just filled me with emotion.
That’s why I was SO excited to see Mindy and Anthony post photos of his homecoming from Afghanistan this year, one year later!! I can’t even imagine what that moment felt like! I knew that I wanted to photograph them again, and to tell their story.
We met at Muscoot Farm, and first we re-enacted Anthony’s homecoming – the moment Mindy ran into his arms. After that, we took more photographs, I interviewed them (see below!), and then we took more casual and fun photos in the beautiful fields!
It was so great to reunite with these two and see them safely together, right before they left for their honeymoon!
I hope you enjoy their sweet and inspiring story.
KL: Anthony, tell me about the first time you met Mindy.
A: Well, I had met her in high school before I ever went off to college, only in passing…then I’d say about my sophomore year of college I went into a bar at another college for adult beverages and a good time, and I caught her eye across the room. I walked over to say hi…She recognized me before I recognized her. We started dating then, and 5 years later, we’re married.
KL: Mindy, when was the first time you found out about Anthony’s deployment?
M: Oh…I kind of always knew that he was going to go at some point, I was just dreading it for 5 years. I knew he always wanted to go no matter what, so at some point we were going to have to deal with it. I’m glad we got it over with…
A: Me too.
KL: Anthony, when you and Mindy were engaged, did you know you were going to be away?
A: So I asked here to marry me after I got out of ranger school…
M: Which is 3 months of no communication…
A: Yeah, so, 3 months of not talking to me and then I proposed as soon as I got out. I already knew that about a year later I’d be deploying. So, she knew that as well.
KL: How was it not talking for 3 months?
M: Uh, it was fun…you know it’s like you don’t have your best friend so I had no one to goof off with like I was used to. But, it made me stronger; it made our relationship stronger.
KL: I’m sure it did. So tell me, you got married right before you deployed. How did you decide to do that at that time?
A: Well, it all goes back to when I initially proposed because we knew we had about a year to make it all happen. So, I had to give her the time to set up the small wedding, you know we couldn’t invite everyone we wanted to, it was only immediate family, but, we knew it would be really nice. We only had about 2 weeks together as an actual married couple before I went to Afghanistan. So that was, trying to make the most of our time, but, it is what it is.
M: That was terrifying!
KL: Him going away?
M: Yea, you know you pray every day for him that he comes home, safe and sound.
KL: Anthony, tell me more about what you were doing in Afghanistan.
A: I worked with an SVAT team which is an advisory team in the eastern portion of Afghanistan. So we were alongside the Afghan National Army, kind of advise them on combat operations as they did several major operations in the east. I was usually on the ground with about 15 guys total, 15 soldiers, which is kind of a small element, but everyone came home safe, nobody got hurt, so it was well worth it.
KL: Thank God. And how was that time for you, Mindy, communicating with him while he was away?
M: At first communication was great and then after 2 or 3 months it kind of cut out, to one line emails. So it’s like, you write him a love letter that’s like 18 pages long and he writes back “I’m safe,” and that’s it. But at that point, you’re just happy to here he’s okay. But it gave me a lot of independence, and time to work on my career and things like that so…
A: See now, what she didn’t know was that what she thought me being lazy…I was on long missions out in the Afghan desert. And uh, I didn’t want her to know that’s where I was so I was just kind of…
M: He hid a lot of things from me.
A: …lying about what I was doing and pretending I was being a bad husband. But she figured it out eventually!
KL: Mindy, tell me about the day you reunited with Anthony when he came home.
M: I was so nervous! I can’t even tell you I was like shaking the entire time with my little American flag, waving. And then you have the worst fear because you looking through the crowd and you can’t find him. And this happens to all of our girlfriends too, we can never seem to find “our guy,” ’cause they’re all wearing the same outfit! And they get lost in the shuffle but…as soon as I found him, I was just overcome with emotion. And, just happy to have him back.
KL: That’s great…
M: Don’t go again!
A: We’ll see…
KL: What did you guys learn about marriage this year while he was away…and your relationship?
A: Good question!
M: It’s all worth the wait.
A: Yeah. The majority of our relationship, the army has been just a big thing – I’m always gone, I’d disappear for training or whatever it may be. It’s nice to actually finally be together. But we always know that before you know it I’ll have to go away for another week, month, who knows. So, we really make the most of our time together. And it’s actually phenomenal being together, I mean, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I guess it really does. But we don’t take advantage of our time together, we don’t not appreciate the time we have together.
KL: And Mindy, what advice would you give to a bride who just married a man who is going into the army and is leaving for a year? What would you tell her?
M: I would just say be as loyal and true as possible, in every sense of the word. And no matter how badly you’re feeling sad and down, never let him know that because he’s experiencing it a million times worse. And it’s never fair to the girl waiting at home, but it’s not fair to him either that we have to separate so, I would just say make sure he’s happy so he’s mentally capable of doing what he needs to do out there so he can come home safely…and make sure he spoils you when he comes!
KL: So now that you are home, what are your first plans together?
A: As soon as I came home, we bought a nice big TV, because that’s the most important thing (laugh). After that, it was just nice to have a weekend with nothing to do but hang out with her, eat some buffalo wings and drink some beer, and come down and see the family, and of course finally go on our honeymoon!
M: Which we leave for in 2 days!
A: We’re really excited about that.
KL: That’s great! Congratulations again, and thank you so much for sharing your story.
Thank you Anthony for your service, we are so grateful.