Family & Education

Late Firefighter’s Newborn Pays Tribute to Her Dad in a Moving Photoshoot With 26 Firemen

BY Robert Jay Watson TIMEJuly 2, 2020 PRINT

In a moving homage to her late father, a newborn baby paid tribute to him by posing for an emotional photoshoot alongside her father’s colleagues from the fire department and his fire gear.

Brett Korves, a 10-year veteran of the Swansea Fire Department in Illinois, and a third-generation firefighter, lost his life in a tragic car accident on April 4, 2019, while he was on his way to work. The 30-year-old, who was very active in his community, was hit by a motorist driving at 94 miles per hour. The exemplary father left behind his wife, Alex, a young son, Brock, and grieving firemen.

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Baby Brett Grace Korves with her father’s gear. (Courtesy of Sugarfoot Photography)

Two weeks after Brett’s death, Alex discovered that she was pregnant.

Despite her joy of being a mom for the second time, Alex was also overwhelmed. “I was very excited to have just one more piece of Brett, but I was also very nervous to do this by myself,” she told Good Morning America.

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Brett Korves with his family. (Courtesy of Alex Korves)

Named after her father, baby Brett Grace Korves was born nine months after her dad passed away on Dec. 12, 2019.

Samantha Kallal, the founder of Sugarfoot Photography, heard of the family’s heartbreaking story and wanted to do something for them.

“Every year I ask my clients to nominate someone deserving of a free session,” Kallal told KMOV. “This year, I had read a story about Brett and Alex Korves and my heart broke for Alex. My photography studio is around the corner from the Swansea Fire Station, and every time I drove by it, I thought of her.”

Thus she volunteered to do a free shoot for the family. When the time to do the newborn’s photoshoot arrived, mom Alex and Kallal chose the Swansea firehouse as their location and invited Brett’s colleagues to participate.

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Baby Brett Grace Korves. (Courtesy of Sugarfoot Photography)

However, what the family and photographer weren’t aware of was how enthusiastic the fire department’s response would be. “We expected two or three guys to show up, and then we would just take a couple of quick pictures before going to my studio,” Kallal told Good Morning America. “But that morning we showed up and 26 of them were there, smiling and ready to go.”

Although shooting with a baby is never guaranteed, little Brett Grace stayed perfectly still, sleeping through the whole photoshoot. The heartwarming pictures that were shot on a cold morning include the baby girl with men from her father’s unit, a picture with her older brother, and a special photo with her dad’s gear and shadow box in his memory.

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Brett Grace Korves with her grandfather and the entire fire department crew. (Courtesy of Sugarfoot Photography)

For mom Alex, it was a symbolic representation of how the firefighters take care of their own. “I just want Brett Grace to realize that even though her father has passed … she has all this outpouring support from all these men, too,” Alex said.

Detailing the photoshoot, Kallal shared on her blog that “The sun popped out the moment I started the shoot.”

Kallal shared that the image of baby Brett Grace with the firemen was one of her most favorite images she has ever taken. In another special image, the little girl is placed in a helmet, and her grandfather Jack Korves, a lieutenant at the Swansea Fire Department, is seen holding her.

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The newborn with the Swansea Fire Department. (Courtesy of Sugarfoot Photography)

Older brother Brock also got into the spirit by donning firefighter boots and bunker pants, snapping a picture with his baby sister. Kallal revealed that Alex was holding the baby’s head for safety; however, she later edited the image to focus only on the two children.

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Brock and his sister, Brett Grace. (Courtesy of Sugarfoot Photography)

Unsurprisingly, the touching tribute got lots of attention after the pictures were shared on social media. Alex was glad to see the outpouring of support from their community.

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(Courtesy of Sugarfoot Photography)

Additionally, Brett’s siblings are working to raise money on a GoFundMe page for scholarships for future firefighters and relief for families of firefighters who were not injured in the line of duty via their organization, “Brett’s First Responders,” which was founded in December 2019.

Brett’s loved ones explained, “We want to carry on his legacy by helping out others in our community.”

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