My good friend Tom Thomas was a Medical Rescue (Medivac) helicopter pilot in Vietnam. This was not a job for the faint of heart. Like all who served, Tom faced real danger and saw terrible things. Like a true soldier, he pressed forward, in spite of the obstacles.

I have known Tom for nearly 30 years. He is always there for us…a true friend. I dedicate this short story to him…and all those who have served.

Tom Thomas - Vietnam Medical Rescue Pilot

Last summer, Tom invited some old Army friends to come visit. During their stay, the subject of uniforms came up. Tom pulled out his old Army uniform and tried it on. It fit! How many of us could say that!

When Tom told me the story, I offered to do a portrait of him in his uniform. As you can see, he still looks terrific!

The dog in the photographs is Puccini – Tom’s sidekick for the last 13 years! Tom rescued Puccini when he was just a pup and they have been inseparable ever since. Both Tom and Puccini have some gray hair now, but that has not slowed them down. Tom and Puccini are regular fixtures all around Park City. Everyone knows Puccini. Most folks recognize Tom too!

Tom Thomas, Vietnam Medivac rescue pilot with his dog Puccini

Watching Tom drive around town with Puccini in the right seat of his Ferrari brings special meaning to the phrase “dog is my co-pilot”. If you have ever wondered if a dog can enrich your life…look no further than Puccini for proof.

Tom Thomas, Vietnam Medivac rescue pilot with his dog Puccini

As a photographer, my passion is telling visual stories. Some stories come from commissioned work. Others, like this one, are right in front of us, waiting to be told.

The portrait paintings in this post honor Tom for his service to our country and Puccini for his devotion to Tom. Thank you both!

If you are considering family portraits, you will want to read this report first!

With over 30 years of experience photographing families, Dennis Walsh shares his thougths on what to look for when hiring a professional photographer. 

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