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Woman honored for acts of kindness

State Sen. jim Tedisco shows the award given to Rachael Skinner for her acts of kindness during the pandemic. (Photo submitted)

MAYFIELD — A local photographer has been using her skills for good throughout the pandemic to help spread positivity throughout the community.

Rachael Skinner, who runs her own photography businesses, Reflections by Rae, has been taking front porch portraits for families in Mayfield, along with taking portraits of graduating high school seniors.

Skinner said she is part of a large photography Facebook group and saw that other photographers have been taking family portraits of them on their porches.

“I thought it would be a really good idea to do it in my hometown in Mayfield,” Skinner said.

She uses a telescopic lens that allows her to take the photographs of families on their porches from a distance of at least 12 feet.

Rachael Skinner

Skinner said she has also been photographing the Mayfield High School seniors whose “whole senior year was ruined.”

She is offering to take the photographs of families and seniors for free. Once edited, those families can download the photos from her website with a print release to allow them to print them where they’d like. Her website is at Reflectionsbyrae.com.

So far, she has taken about 40 families front porch portraits and has done 39 high school seniors and has a few more seniors to still do. She also plans on taking the high school senior portraits for the seniors in the Northville Central School District.

“A lot of people have been very appreciative, very accepting and happy that I’m doing it, and it makes me feel good that I’m able to help someone out by doing something so simple as taking their photograph, especially with what everyone is going through right now. It’s tough times for everyone, and everyone’s scared. And I just wanted to spread a little bit of positivity throughout all of this.”

Not only has Skinner been taking photographs, but she also has been making masks that she has been donating to anyone who has autoimmune disease, or of if they’re over 65 years old. She gives them all one for free.

“My sister is a nurse at St. Mary’s and she asked me if I could make a few for her and her friends, so I started doing that,” Skinner said. “Then I started getting lots of requests.”

She began making the masks for a small donation to allow her to keep up with fabrics and supplies.

Skinner carries masks with her while out in town, or ordering takeout from a restaurant and will give them to delivery drivers and some of the store clerks who are working.

Skinner has also been honored by state Sen. Jim Tedisco with a 49th Senate District COVID-19 Acts of Kindness Heroes Award. Her husband, Jesse Skinner had nominated her for the award along with separate nominations from Becky Allen and Tina Morey.

“As we all work together to deal with the serious medical, social and economic impacts of COVID-19 in this dark time, I believe it’s important to recognize all those who in their own special ways are bringing some light to people’s lives and showing true acts of kindness and heroism, “Tedisco said. “I’m proud to represent Rachael Skinner and honor her with a 49th Senate District COVID-19 Acts of Kindness Award and thank her for being a ray of sunshine and bringing some joy into people’s lives during this crisis.”

If anyone knows someone who is deserving of this award, email tedisco@nysenate.gov the individual’s name, address, telephone number, a brief description of their activities and their photo.

“I feel like there’s a lot more people that deserve recognition than me,” Skinner said. “There’s a lot of people working in hospitals that are really sacrificing their time and lives to help keep everyone safe. I feel like those people deserve a lot more recognition than I ever would.”

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