Project 444: The Sgt. Don Corp Memorial Family Shoot
Sgt. Don Corp always knew he wanted to be a police officer. Even as a little boy, he pretended to “collect evidence” and would plan elaborate “stakeouts” to watch for criminal behavior and mischief. Some officers choose to be a cop – Donnie was born a cop. He joined the Aurora, Illinois Police Department as a cadet at age 18 and in 1999 became an APD Officer. He loved the service community: the police officers, fire department, EMT and dispatch were his extended family – he formed a tight bond with these forces through work and community events.
In July 2015, at age 36, Donnie was diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. He fought bravely and hard through chemo and surgeries. While on medical leave, he was promoted to sergeant and wanted nothing more than to get back to the job and community he loved. On March 21, 2016 Donnie took his final breath surrounded by family, loved ones, and the closest members of his APD extended family. He is greatly missed.
Our photos of Don have become cherished keepsakes.
Donnie is my brother and #444 was his sergeant badge number. Project 444 was created in his memory and serves the community service professionals he loved best: police, fire, EMT, and dispatch. We want to celebrate his memory by offering a family portrait session to a professional from a field of service he adored.
Each year, we will accept nominations for a limited time from the community to offer a complimentary family portrait session to a member of a police department or fire department as an officer, firefighter, EMT or dispatch. There is no cost to the family. It’s our way of honoring Donnie and remembering him and the community he loved best.
Members of any PD or firehouse may be nominated from anywhere in the US – but sessions will take place in the Des Moines, Iowa metro area. As long as the family is willing to travel to us, we’d be honored to accept nominations for any qualified professional.
What’s included in the Project 444 collection:
1-2 hour Family portrait session
Set of gallery proofs in a keepsake box
2 – 11×14 | 11×17 wall print
4 – gift prints
Web-sharing images of the gallery for online sharing
To nominate a service professional, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line Project 444. Please include a short description of the nominee and his or her family. Please tell us the service department, and the number of family members, ages of children, and why you’d like us to choose your nominee. Brevity is appreciated!
The nomination period is Mar 1, 2019 – Dec 1, 2019. The photo session will take place Spring 2020. Winner will be drawn randomly and announced after Dec 1, 2019.
It’s our honor to give back a small token of our gratitude to the police, fire, EMT and dispatch community. He was so proud to be a police officer, and considered the men and women of the police, fire, and rescue, and dispatch his extended brothers and sisters. Thanks for allowing us to remember Donnie in this way. We hope it will carry on his story and provide one family the kind of cherished photo keepsakes that we now treasure. Each year, in honor of each Project 444 session we complete, we will make a contribution to the Lustgarten Pancreatic Cancer foundation in Donnie’s name.
Darcy and Randy
Meet a past Project 444 Family:
Service and sacrifice come naturally to Officer McDowell. He began his career in the Iowa Army National Guard as a cavalry scout and served overseas in Kosovo and Iraq. In 2006, McDowell was named as the Soldier of the Year for the State of Iowa. He worked closely with local law enforcement when he began working with the DEA and undercover narcotics units through the National Guard’s Counter Drug Task force. In 2008, after twelve years of services and numerous commendations, McDowell was honorably discharged from the Iowa National Guard as a staff sergeant.
Officer McDowell has served his local community for the past eight years while working as a patrol officer with a suburban police department. He is actively involved with the police department as a self-defense instructor, swat team member, chemical munitions instructor, medical first responder instructor, k-9 decoy demonstrator and Honor Guard member. He was named Officer of the Year in 2011. In 2013, Officer McDowell was honored by the governor for saving the life of an unconscious teenager while responding to a vehicle fire.
Officer McDowell and his wife, Nichole – who also served for 3 years in the Iowa Army National Guard as a medic – have been married for eleven years and are the proud parents of Wesley, 10, and Maggie, 6.
Veterans returning from service who are looking for a job:
Thank you for your service and sacrifice. As a small gesture of thanks, we offer a pro bono headshot session for our returning soldiers to update their work resumes. This is a quick and easy session and no cost to you. We will photograph you for your digital resume, Linked In profile, etc. You will pick which image you like best at the session, we will edit and deliver the image to you electronically within a week. If you need a print version of your headshot, no problem. We can take care of that, too. Thank you again for your service. We appreciate you!
Children’s & Maternity Services:
We work with families and non-profit organizations to help families with children diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening illness so they’ll have tangible heirloom photographs. We also offer maternity sessions for non-surviving pregnancies. These pro bono sessions are no cost to the family. We prefer to do these in a natural setting away from the hospital whenever your loved one is healthy enough, but we will come to your home, hospital, or hospice if need be. Having spent a great deal of time in the Neonatal ICU and time in hospice with our own loved ones we are familiar with the importance of not exposing your loved one to germs. We can shoot masked if needed. We know how important these memories are for you and for your family, and we’re honored to create these cherished images for you.