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Update: Home of the Brave; Concord Resident Launches Second Career

The Home of the Brave project and Concord resident Jim Coutre launches a second career.

You may think the Concord Museum only deals with Concord history in the distant past, but you would be wrong. Case in point: their partnership with Quilter’s Way to participate in the Home of the Brave Project. This is a project designed to honor the fallen heroes of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq by presenting their loved ones with quilts to honor their service. It takes its inspiration from quilts made for soldiers during the Civil War.

So the museum is coordinating the making of a quilt by inviting people to make a $10 donation to the museum, which will get them the materials with which they can make their own square. They can then drop their finished square back off at the museum any time before September 15. Meaning you have plenty of time to get this done, even if you're like me and not really a seamstress.

And if you want to understand more about the genesis of this project, the museum will be presenting an illustrated lecture on Civil War quilts by Lynne Bassett, titled “We Didn’t Suffer, Thanks to Those Quilts the Folks Sent Us", on September 15th at 7:00 p.m. Tickets to the lecture are $10; $7 for Museum members. But space is limited, so call 978-369-9763 to reserve a spot.

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I have this fantasy of starting over in a second career, one completely different from the one I trained for. You know, taking a hobby that I love and somehow making it into a profitable venture. I haven’t done it yet, but Jim Coutre has, and I am in awe.

Jim’s first career is amazingly impressive: in short, he used to turn companies around and make them profitable. He held such impressive positions as corporate level director, president, and CEO, in the very hot field of healthcare. As you might imagine, this took a lot of time and energy, meaning that he missed a lot of milestones in his own family.

Ultimately, Jim decided it was time to end that career and go back to his earlier passion, photography. He took some time to study with Pierre Chiha over at , honing his skills in digital post-processing as well shooting.  He made his specialty family life portraiture, starting with maternity and going all the way to the other end of life, because he realized just how important family is. And even though he has a studio, he actually prefers to do this in a setting where people feel most comfortable: their homes. He loves the satisfaction it brings to parents when they see the images, and he wants to give to other families what he missed with his own.

In addition, he does a kind of photography that you don’t usually think about: bereavement photography, photos of babies who never go home. When someone’s gone through a pregnancy, anticipating the birth, and then has something go wrong, it can be really comforting to have such a personal memento of that baby’s very short time on earth. And something I did not know: there’s a worldwide group of volunteer photographers who provide this service, all for no charge. How nice is that?

But lest you think Jim only photographs people, fear not: he also does landscape photography. He’s a member of the Nashoba Valley Photo Club, where he participates in competition photography. In this venue, he’s received a number of awards, as well as been published twice internationally. As a result, he’s now teaching as well, which he not only enjoys but seems to have a knack for.

And what’s really cool is that he’s displaying both his family and landscape photos in an exhibit currently running at the Harvey Wheeler in West Concord, through the end of August. Images include his regional and international competition award winning landscape scenes from the canyons of the southwest, our own old North Bridge, West Coast areas,  and of course client family life portraiture.  And since he’s nothing if not well rounded, he not only took the photos, but processed, printed, and framed all the images for this exhibit. Phew, I’m tired just thinking about it!

You can see this exhibit any time the Harvey Wheeler is open (which is daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm), but you should also know there’s an Artist Reception next Wednesday, July 20th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm., at 1276 Main Street.

I’m pretty inspired by Jim – maybe inspired enough to try my own second career.

 

Do you have something you would like to share? Contact me at stefanieac@comcast.net or Maureen at mcb23@comcast.net, and we will be happy to help you spread the good news.

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