TAMPA (WFLA) – For Danielle Cobo, one holiday stands out above the rest – Christmas. It’s her favorite time of the year. “I love the holidays,” she told 8 on Your Side.
The Tampa mother-of-two and military wife loves trimming the tree, decorating the house and, of course, sending cards with photos of the family.
This year, however, taking the family photo was difficult since life looks a bit different.
Her husband has been gone this year during a year-long deployment, serving overseas as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot.
“I am extremely proud of him and grateful for what he’s doing because I think there’s a purpose greater than our own,” she told 8 on Your Side. “This year’s deployment has been the toughest. By the time he returns, my husband will have missed half of our twins lives. With that said, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m so proud of him.”
Since Danielle loves Christmas, she did not want her husband to skip the holiday photo for their Christmas card. She knew there had to be a way around it.
And, her solution would soon become a viral sensation, something she never expected. All she needed was a photo from her husband.
“I asked him to take a picture with his hand out in his uniform, and he had no idea what I was up,” said Danielle laughing.
That’s when the sweetest card ever was born.
With the magic of Photoshop and the spirit of Christmas, the perfect picture was created. Her Christmas card features a photo in two halves, combined to make the family whole, even across multiple continents.
On one side, Danielle can be seen with her twin boys. On the other side, her husband stands proudly in uniform, smiling from across the miles.
In the middle, their hands are joined.
“I’m so grateful for what he’s doing,” Danielle said. “This is how we can take our family photo together.”
She teared up as she explained how her community helped her to create the card, touched by the generosity.
“I asked people on our neighborhood page if they knew how to use Photoshop,” she told us, her eyes filling with tears. “I am so grateful. There are so many people who take care of military families. I feel blessed.”
She added, “I wanted to find a way for us to capture a photo of us together even though we can’t technically be together.”
Danielle says the card went global overnight, and suddenly, she began receiving messages from people across the United States, including her father in California who was brought to tears, he says, when he saw first saw the image.
Danielle told us she’s hoping this will be a reminder to others to be mindful of the sacrifices made by members of the military, especially when they’re separated by distance from those they love the most.
“I can’t wait for my husband to come home,” she told us. “I love him.”
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