Blaine photographer captures local heroes in ‘Essential Collection’

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A photographer from Blaine has taken on a special project to document the local heroes emerging through the coronavirus crisis.

Gabrielle McCullough of Kennedy Jade Photography is sharing photos that show the daily lives of essential workers.

The idea started with her brother, Nathan, who has been stocking shelves around the clock at a local grocery store.

“When I asked him how feels about working during this time, he said, ‘The job needs to get done, and I’m the person to do it,’” McCullough said.

She hopes this project can be a way to say ‘thank you’ to those who are putting themselves at risk to continue to serve the community.

“Medical staff, mail carriers, farmers, convenience stores, sanitation, logistics, trucking,” McCullough explained. "They are real heroes just keeping our world moving forward."

She is sharing her "Essential Collection" on her Facebook page. Each photo is accompanied by a short caption that describes the person’s job and why the public should be thankful for it.

The collection includes a FedEx worker who “gets up before the sun” to make sure we get our packages, the construction workers who transformed Bethesda into a COVID-19 hospital and our own KSTP photographer Joe Caffrey, a journalist who helps keep the community informed.

“Truthfully, how important they all are for us to function as a society,” McCullough said. "I think it’s something to be celebrated."

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On Friday, she snapped photos of Minneapolis Police Officer Robert Heck, a second-generation police officer who’s been working nonstop since the crisis started.

“For as much negativity as we see, to have somebody reach out and say, ‘Hey, thank you. This is great work.’ That’s wonderful,” said MPD Public Information Officer John Elder.

McCullough hopes the Essential Collection can be a good reminder for people to take the time to notice these unsung heroes, share a smile and say ‘thank you.’

“It really makes a difference spreading kindness all around,” McCullough said.

To see more of McCullough’s work, click here.