HeartsApart.org, Carolina Canines honored at the White House - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

HeartsApart.org, Carolina Canines honored at White House

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Two organizations from Wilmington were in Washington DC this week to be honored by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden during a special ceremony at the White House Wednesday. Two organizations from Wilmington were in Washington DC this week to be honored by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden during a special ceremony at the White House Wednesday.

WASHINGTON, DC (WECT) – Two organizations from Wilmington were in Washington DC this week to be honored by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden during a special ceremony at the White House Wednesday.

Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden celebrated the first anniversary of Joining Forces, their initiative to recognize, honor and serve military families.  The initiative has helped thousands of veterans and military families find jobs, improved educational opportunities for military children, supported wounded warriors, and honored our nation's fallen.

HeartsApart.org and Carolina Canines are two of twenty organizations recognized at the event.  Hundreds of submissions were received and only twenty finalists who found innovative ways to show their gratitude and support at the local level were chosen.

Founded in 2010, HeartsApart.org provides soon-to-be deployed servicemen and women with professional portraits of their spouses and children at no charge. 

The Carolina Canines organization provides service dogs to disabled veterans.

First Lady Michelle Obama greeted and hugged members of Carolina Canines and petted the two pups that traveled with the group.

Dr. Biden specifically discussed HeartsApart in her speech to the crowd, praising the organizations work.

Members of both groups say they felt honored and are inspired to do more.

To see the full video of today's ceremony, click here

Suzy Bucierka teared up as she looked at the White House Tuesday thinking about her husband, Ted, who is far from home.

He's a marine who's serving an eight-month deployment in Afghanistan, and he won't be back until the fall.

"It is a long time for our hearts to be apart," said Suzy.

Still, she carries pictures with her that help keep him close -- pictures that he also carries with him.

"He will actually put it in his breast pocket, so when he is feeling homesick or missing me or his family, he can look at the photo," she said.

HeartsApart.org took the photos and invited Suzy to Washington DC for the ceremony.

"What a fantastic opportunity," said Suzy. "Hearts Apart has dedicated their time and their talent. They have taken their passion for photography and have been able to provide it to the greater good to service members and their families."

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