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A Resilient Love Story: The Bullis Family

Josh and Tory met in 2011, a mere ten months after Josh’s injury. They were married in 2013 and had their sweet boy, Carson (now 2 years old), in 2016. They are a beautiful family, inside and out, whose love for one another can be seen from miles away. When I asked them to use one word to describe themselves, Tory said Josh was “resilient”, Carson was “inquisitive”, and that she was “grounded”. After hearing their story and having the privilege to work with them for their family portraits, I couldn’t agree more.

“Josh and I met in 2011 on Facebook, actually! We used to communicate through Facebook Messenger. Him and I started talking to each other July 2011 while he was still in the hospital post-injury”, Tory explained to me about how they met. The injury had occurred ten months prior, in September of 2010. In her own words: “…Josh stepped an IED during his first tour in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was a Combat Engineer in the Army and stepped on the IED on a routine foot patrol. He was air evacuated to Landstuhl, Germany where he was put into a seven-day medically induced coma. Once he was awake and stable, they flew him back stateside where he spent a few months at Walter Reed Medical Center in D.C. He had countless surgeries (upwards of 25) amputating one leg and cleaning the other leg and arm areas which were blown off in AFG. About three months later, Josh was transferred to Balboa Medical Center in San Diego where he stayed for nine months working on healing and rehabilitation.”

Josh and Tory finally met in person in Arizona in September 2011. Tory worked at a bar and Josh would come in and watch football games with his friends. They did not begin to date until November of that year. “Due to his traumatic injury and rehabilitation, we wanted to take it slow in the beginning and build a friendship while navigating his new life as a triple-amputee. We built a great friendship before dating.” They were married in September 2013 and have now been together for 6 years in total. After getting married, Josh and Tory knew they wanted to become parents. Unfortunately, they discovered that they “suffered from infertility and went through three years of diets, treatments, and medication”. Carson was the light at the end of that tunnel for them. That sweet, angelic boy was born in May of 2016. Tory told me that “he was very wanted and is extremely adored. He has always been a calm and sweet boy, even as a newborn.” After meeting him, I can attest to how sweet natured and loved he is. He loves to be tickled, to jump (“although he doesn’t quite get off of the ground most tries”), give kisses/fist bumps/high fives, read with Mommy, and wrestle and go riding around on the wheelchair with Daddy.

The couple told me that they chose to get their portraits done with me now during “this season of life [that] has been a beautiful, challenging, and busy” while Tory finishes her Bachelors in Elementary Education, Josh finishes restoring his ’57 Chevy truck, and Carson is constantly growing and learning. “[Carson] is such a loving and affectionate boy, and I bask in it because I know there’s a chance that that won’t always be the case.” As a Mama myself, I understand the need to capture as many of these fleeting moments as possible. I am so thankful for getting to capture these memories of your wonderful life together Tory, Josh, and Carson.

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