You are Loved: A Tribute|Goshen Family photographer



I don’t think I ever realized how this journey into photography has touched my life and has helped me grow in so many ways.

Never could I ever imagined the wealth of joy and all the lessons that it has taught me since I started this journey.

When I was asked over a month ago to photograph the Pekarek Adventure Course (PAC) , I was so touched by the request.  It came from the Pekarek family and it also came from my dear college friend.

11 years ago, my friend’s late husband, died in a plane crash.  A year later, the Pekarek Adventure Challenge Course(PAC) was built in memory of Joseph R. Pekarek dedicated by my friend’s family.

“This gift was in memory of a devoted husband, father, brother and son-in-law and was meant to celebrate Pekarek’s dedication to young people and his love for outdoor activity. The PAC course has become an important therapeutic recreation tool for all of the programs at Bashor Children’s Home and was designed to be shared with churches, youth groups, schools, businesses and civic organizations.”  “It’s a place that help for troubled children and their families through residential care, day treatment/ alternative education, foster care, and many other services”.

Photographing this event of the family doing the PAC was very special to me.  It was more than just a photoshoot. It held special place in my heart because I also knew Joe.  He was also a dear friend of mine, we went to college together and all hung out together.

Even at a young college age, Joe always possessed a strong presence when you were with him.  You could feel his positive and motivating energy.  Joe always had a strong sense of  purpose and Faith  as well. 

The PAC built in his honor well represented how Joe truly was as a person.  Joe had a love for sports and always helped and motivated others around him.  To me, the PAC represented 3 things:  

Believe in Yourself. Do not Give Up.  You are Loved. 

This particular session helped me grow in so many ways. First of all, this type of photography was different than anything that I was used to.  I had to go outside my comfort zone to shoot this type of session where I had no control over lighting  and the situation.  I had to learn in a very short amount of time how to use the new equipments/lenses I needed to use for this kind of photography. The days leading up to the event, I made several trips to the  PAC to meet with the facilitators and to see what the course was like so that I knew what to expect. 

One of the elements in the PAC was a high rope course and I wanted to practice shooting part of the course from above. Yes, 25-30 feet off the ground.  The facilators were setting up the course and invited me to come do a practice run to make sure I was comfortable being at that height on the day of the event. 

To tell you the truth, as I was driving to the course for this trial run, I was super nervous and telling myself that I was crazy.  What was I thinking shooting from 25 feet of the ground being suspended in the air.  So when I approached the course, I tried to overcome this fear and told the facilators that I was ready to go through this trial run.  As I was climbing, I remembered thinking how on earth was I going to overcome this height of fear while up there shooting with all these camera equipments?

Something beautiful happened as I approached the top.  This amazing peaceful feeling took over as I stood up there and looked down.  As I was suspended high, I realized that sometimes  fear is our biggest obstacle.  Once we let go of that, once we believe in ourselves, the best reward is there waiting for us on top.  This incredible feeling—-this incredible joy—-we get—- knowing that we can achieve anything that we set our mind to it

Believe in Yourself.  Do not Give Up. You are loved.

These are the messages that I know Joe would’ve wanted everyone to know.

Believe in yourself.  Let go of our fears.  Trust in ourself that we can do it.  The power of our mind is truly unbelievable. 

Don’t give up.  We experience true joy and our true potential when we get out of our comfort zone.  The true reward is there waiting for us.  We just have to “keep on keeping on.”

You are loved.  Joe would’ve wanted everyone to feel the love.  Each one of us, no matter where we are in life, we all want to feel loved.  When we do things for others and become selfless we can feel this love.  Helping one another and working together, is where we can generate this love for ourselves.  This helps us grow.  The love lies here when we become selfless.



*I captured this as his mom was the first one  courageously climbed to the top of one of the high elements.  Do you see a heart up above in the first picture?  And a rainbow surrounding her the second pic? His presence was definitely with them that day!

That day, witnessing how the family worked together and doing the PAC truly was symbolic of the message.  It was truly amazing to capture all that.  Too see the determination and the courage it took for each one of them to do some of these challenging elements, I saw the power of the message and what the PAC represents.  

This will be one of the most memorable sessions ever.  I could feel the love and the spirit of Joe with them that day.  It was such  an honor for me to be a part of this important event .

 Joe, you are loved.  Your spirit still lives on as you continue to touch everyone’s lives with your incredible message.

 In addition to these photos, I’ve provided a session video. Make sure your sound is turned up.



 {By the way, after all that practice run, I did not get a chance to be suspended high in the air.  We did not have time to do the 2nd high element ..maybe next time)







4 Responses to You are Loved: A Tribute|Goshen Family photographer

  1. Theresa says:

    Thanks for sharing this with people Uyen. We just LOVE the pics! You have done an amazing job capturing the day, the mission of Bashor Home and Joe’s spirit!

  2. This is simply lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ginny says:

    Thank you for posting this! I’m one of Joe’s cousins and have not had the opportunity to see this course or know of its impact yet. But now I do and am so grateful! The photos are beautiful.

  4. Londa says:

    Wow, didn’t know you could capture that day this well! I’m still awed by the strength and courage of the Pekarek Family and I’m so blessed to have been able to be apart of that experience with them. Great pics!!!

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