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Air Force photographers win top honors

By Bonney Bowman 8:50 PM March 4, 2014

Their work earns them top honors from the Pacific Air Forces

ANCHORAGE - A picture is worth a thousand words and two U.S. Air Force photographers stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson take a lot of great photos.

Their work recently earned them top honors from the Pacific Air Forces, but that’s not what drives them to capture remarkable military moments.

The Pacific Air Forces recently named Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera, a lifelong Alaskan, Military Photographer of the Year.

Fellow photographer Justin Connaher was named Civilian Photographer of the Year.

It’s the second time the Pacific Air Forces have recognized his skills from among the many photographers working in the service.

Accolades are not why these photographers do what they do.

Connaher started his career as a paratrooper, jumping from planes.

But when an accident sidelined him, he picked up a camera.

“I know what these people are going through. I’ve been there,” Connaher said. ”I’ve chewed some of the same dirt.”

deVera says she originally wanted to be an Air Force medic, but landed in public affairs.

She says she’s grown to love sharing images of soldiers in the field with their families back home.

“Makes you feel good because they appreciate your hard work and the fact that the families can see the photos is really very overwhelming,” deVera said.

It’s a look into a world civilians don’t normally get to see, bringing the day-to-day efforts of Alaska’s soldiers to life one frame at a time.

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