Birmingham, Ala. (WIAT) — A Shelby County man has been named a GoFundMe Hero. The fundraising platform named Jeff Rease as one of their heroes for Portraits of Honor, his portraiture of World War Two Veterans.

He’s been featured on the GoFundMe podcast celebrating the project. Jeff started Portraits of Honor in 2019. Ari Romio with GoFundMe says the company started it’s Heroes program in 2017.

Jeff Rease said he got into this type of photography by following his passion. It didn’t take long before he figured out meeting these World War Two Veterans, taking their portraits and sharing their stories was more like a calling for him.

He’s hearing stories from Veterans like fighter pilot Earl Miller. His portrait is on the wall of Rease’s home office. Miller dons a black leather jacket in the photo.

Rease said “it’s just a simple leather jacket. Before he put that on he just looked like anybody else, but when he put that on he looked like that B-51 fighter pilot you could see in the picture and on the table next to him. It just brought it out.”

Rease not only photographs the veterans for Portraits of Honor. He interviews these heroes and shares their stories on his YouTube Channel.

GoFundMe’s Ari Romio said his updates and stories about these Veterans is one of the reasons they chose him as a GoFundme Hero. Romio said, “we found out that he had self funded the project for about a year. And we were just honored that he chose GoFundMe just to be a small part of his story and just really rallying people together. Rallying strangers to believe in his cause and he does just such a good job of updating his fundraiser taking us all along his journey.”