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Veterans use photography to cope with returning home

Posted at 12:27 AM, Nov 11, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Photography can transport.

“In the oil fields in Kuwait, I would wake up every morning and I would I would actually blow my nose and it would be black,” said Robert Pecoraro while explaining the photo he took while serving with the US Air Force.

Photography helps people express their emotions.

“Showing what I was going through at home, or the pain I was feeling inside with losing my friends,” said Michael Wahlers, an Army veteran. He served two tours in Iraq. He lost seven friends there.

Photography can unite.

Pecoraro and Wahlers fought for our country. Now, they met with other veterans in a program called, Odessey. It’s where veterans meet and share their photography with other veterans in Western New York.

“We were able to specifically deal with each problem separately and it helped us, you know, kind of cope with different things that we've been active holding inside,” explained Wahlers about Odessey.

“It was a way of us all communicating together through photography, our trials and tribulations of coming home,” added Pecoraro.

This Veterans Day, their work is on display at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Institute. For these two men, they know the halls of where their work will hang, too well.

“Roswell took care of the imaging of making sure, through the VA, that the tumor wasn't going back and it was,” said Pecoraro about the growth in his brain.

“My wife, Amanda, she was dealing with brain cancer,” added Wahlers. His picture hanging on the walls of Roswell is one of his children and his wife playing. In the photo, you can see the scar from his wife’s surgery.

These two men hope their stories can inspire others to join projects like Odessey.