by Klara Hanincova
If somebody would ask me to describe this photo shoot in three phrases they would be: fifteen minutes, a bunch of puppies and one image. Yes that is right. This was our shortest photo shoot so far. Yep, I know what you are thinking. Trying to photograph bunch of little troublemakers with a firefighter within fifteen minutes is just pure craziness. And it sure was…:)
As soon as Sweetums, the affectionate and loving Labrador retriever mix, gave birth to eleven beautiful puppies, we were all thinking the same thing. We have to photograph all her puppies with a firefighter. So there we were waiting till the puppies got all the vaccines they needed and were old enough to do some serious modeling. What we did not realize was that the older the puppies get, the more active they will be. So instead of eleven professional models we ended up with eleven professional super cute troublemakers…:)
It was early Saturday morning. As soon as the firefighter Joe Iamonico put on his gear, Carol, Dianne and I went to fetch the puppies. As we were bringing them one by one into the training room, where our portable studio was set up, we realized that photographing eleven three months old puppies at the same time may be just a little bit too ambitious. We therefore decided to work “ONLY” with six of them. Everything went well, until Joe lay down on the floor. All six puppies ran right up to him and began to lick his face and climb and jump all over him. It was a chaos! Fun to watch , but impossible to photograph! Since we were running short on time and also to make it easier on Joe who seemed to be lost in the sea of tails and paws, Carol and Dianne took two of the little troublemakers back to their kennel and we started all over again. This time with only four puppies …:)
Joe, who recently retired, followed in the foot steps of his father and spent twenty seven years faithfully servicing the citizens of Eastchester as a firefighter at the Eastchester Fire Department. His firefighter’s instincts and years of training did not let him down, when on one hot day, not so long ago, his nine year old English bulldog Tito started to choke while drinking water and lost his consciousness. Joe, who was close by, started mouth-to-nose Cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) right away and did not stop until Tito began to breathe on his own again.
Joe’s father and a fire Captain Robert Iamonico served as a firefighter with Eastchester Fire Department for over twenty eight years. Robert, a hero that should never be forgotten, was only seventeen years old when he and his fellow soldiers landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day June 6, 1944 to fight the Germans. He survived a bloody assault and continued through Europe, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant. For his services in World War II, Robert received several medals, including the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Infantry Medal, with Campaign Medals for Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe. You might be wondering why I am mentioning Joe’s father and what does this have to do with the calendar. Well, it has nothing to do with the calendar. It might just be that the stories of atrocities of World War II are forever resonating in my soul and I have a tremendous respect to all the people who stood up and fought German troops. It also might just be that I do not want the younger generations to forget the sacrifices their grandfathers and great grandfathers made, and it also might just be a reminder to all of us that Eastchester was once a home to the World War II hero Robert Iamonico.