Stephen Willette, CEO & Founder

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Bio

Stephen Willette was born in a small village, Schuylerville, north of Albany, NY, the State's Capital.  He spent most of his childhood and teenage years there, until joining the United States Air Force in April 2001.  Then September 11th, 2001 happened.  

9/11 changed pretty much all of Willette's career in the Armed Forces.  From time away from family, deployments to the Middle East and Southwest Asia, and the looming threat of another attack on America's soil, it laid the foundation to who he is today.

Willette, at the age of twenty-one, wouldn't have described himself as an overly patriotic young man.  He wasn't raised in a military family, and the only sense of patriotism he observed was standing for the Pledge of Allegiance each morning in school, or the Memorial Day parade in his hometown.  Even being raised in a village and town that is rich in American history (the Battles of Saratoga during the American Revolution), the sense of patriotism he feels today didn't take root until his time and experiences in the Armed Forces.

Willette spent sixteen years, being stationed in North Carolina, Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, along with two one-year remote assignments in South Korea, and multiple deployments.  While at his last and final duty assignment in Anchorage, Alaska, Willette was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and medically retired from active duty.

Willette returned to his hometown and began photography, a hobby he picked up while in the military, and focused his attention on veterans and disabled individuals.  As it typically goes, he became very busy and soon found himself photographing everything from memorial ceremonies, weddings, families, newborns, and senior portraits, proms, events, and much more.  

What originally began as just an idea and something for fun, quickly turned into traveling throughout New York State and beyond.  In 2018, Willette started a photography project titled, "Faces of Veterans."  Through this incredible journey, he photographed 1400+ veterans across ten New York State Counties.  This project landed Willette in numerous newspaper articles and television broadcasts.  The project stalled in 2020 when COVID-19 hit, however the Faces of Veterans photography project will resume in 2022.  Funding for this project is done through photographing families, events, and individuals, or through sales/donations on this website.  

To inquire how you can help the Faces of Veterans projects, use the Contact form in the Menu.  

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