It is with great sadness that we announce the departure of one of our most amazing team members. Russ Forthofer joined NILMDTS in 2012 after being recruited at Imaging USA as an Affiliated Photographer.
I remember meeting Russ in 2012 at Imaging USA and while I would like to claim that I recruited him, I am sure it was a variety of our volunteers at the booth that day! Russ is truly a gem! He has contributed countless hours to NILMDTS not only as a photographer, but also in a number of other leadership roles. We are a better organization because of his contribution and I am a better person to know him. Thank you for your commitment Russ! Come back soon!!! ~Gina Harris, CEO
Little did we know the immense value he would bring to NILMDTS in the years following. Known by many for his laughter, his unique beard, his gentle guidance as a mentor and leader, his amazing harmonica playing skills and his out-of-this-world photography know-how. Russ never turned down an opportunity to help improve our organization.
Russ is the ultimate lighting Guru. I will forever be jealous of his “ice-light” keychain! Thanks for all the tips you have shared with me regarding my ice light and barn doors. Every tip you gave led to success!~ Rhonda Gehman, Volunteer Coordinator
Shortly after starting with NILMDTS, Russ joined the Digital Retouch Artist team. It was here that we began to realize the amazing skill set that he would bring to our table.
Russ was a great cheerleader. He helped so many volunteers improve their retouching skills with his lessons in the training portal. His knowledge and sense of humor was so appreciated by all of us! ~Marti Wagner, DRA Coordinator
It wasn’t long before Russ found his place on the leadership team as an Area Coordinator for Indianapolis and then a national Volunteer Coordinator. A natural leader and encourager, Russ took his role as mentor seriously (and sometimes not seriously with his amazing sense of humor), helping many new volunteers grow into their roles within the organization.
Russ has been an amazing support and mentor to me when I decided to step into the photography world. I couldn’t have done it without him. His contributions to our leadership team have been a blessing. There is always a place for you here! ~Ali Furtwangler, Volunteer Program Manager
Russ also found a place on our Membership Application committee where he started was the biggest advocate for the mentorship program to help passionate applicants by ensuring they had the support they needed when joining the NILMDTS volunteer team.
Russ never once hesitated to walk me through a situation in which I needed help. He mentored me and taught me so much about photography, lighting, and Photoshop. He’s been one of my favorite people in the organization to work with. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to have worked with him. ~Missy Thomas, Medical Program Manager
On his local team, he provided a priceless experience for 134 families through his photography and retouching. Russ was always willing to help anyone out and as our Session Logging Guru, he logged countless sessions on behalf of others in addition to his own.
Russ was one of the first people willing to step up and make the journey to a new convention of which NILMDTS was asked to be present. But that is just who Russ is, always the first person to raise his hand and say “I’ve got this!” We will miss Russ greatly and the constant love, laughs and guidance he was always willing to give any one of us. ~Melanie Rodger, Volunteer Care Specialist
Thanks, Russ, that I could always count on you to provided me honest opinions, unique insights and great suggestions whenever I asked. No matter if they were technical or situational. I’m going to miss that priceless resource. ~Burt Rich, Volunteer Coordinator
To our friend, our mentor, someone who inspires us to work harder for our volunteers, you will be missed in your retirement and know retirement never has to be permanent.
I am so touched by all the kind comments. Many thanks to all of you. Please know that during my time with NILMDTS I always received more than I gave. NILMDTS enabled me to grow my photography and retouching skills in ways I could never have imagined. I was able to witness first hand the incredible love within families and for children who left those families much too soon. I have been fortunate to work with, learn from and become friends with some incredible people. I will always be proud to say that I was part of this incredible organization. (And who knows, may again be at some point in the future.) Thank you. All of you.
Russ, I know I told you before that you were so important in my decision to become a NILMDTS photographer.
I can not thank y ou enough for all your help, wisdom and inspiration! I know NILMDTS and all the families they serve will miss you so much!
Please stay in touch!!! Thank you!! Sandrien