Todd Heisler, Rocky Mountain News
On an airport tarmac in Reno, Nev., a pregnant woman waited to say her final goodbye to her husband, a U.S. Marine. As the plane taxied to a stop, the cargo hold opened to reveal 2nd Lt. James Cathey's flag-draped casket. He was killed in an explosion in Iraq.
Rocky Mountain News photographer Todd Heisler stood next to Cathey's widow, Katherine, at the airport. "When Katherine first saw the casket, she just let out this scream," said Heisler. "At one point, I had to just put the camera down and stare that the ground because it was just so personal."
For nine months, Heisler and reporter Jim Sheeler followed Marine Maj. Steve Beck and his team as they notified families that their loved ones had been killed in Iraq and guided them through their grief. "By seeing the dedication that they were giving to these families, I felt that I should be giving them nothing less myself, nothing less tha everything that I could give to the photographs emotionally," said Heisler.