From Eric’s lips – “I’m not very good at writing about myself, but I’ll give it a try. Our love story began as a long distance relationship where I was in Navy flight school in Kingsville, TX and Laura was finishing nursing school in Richmond, VA. After a year apart we moved in together and a year after that got married in Annapolis, MD. Being married and living together was so rewarding, especially after having spent so much time apart. Unfortunately, a year and a half into our marriage I deployed onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln with VFA-34 “The Blue Blasters” as a pilot flying missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation New Dawn (OND). After 7 months at sea, many missions into Afghanistan, my reward was flying into Virginia Beach and having my beautiful bride waiting for me. This portrait is a recreation of a photo taken of Laura and I when I jumped out of my F/A-18 and was greeted by a very excited and welcoming Laura.”
Laura and Eric are so much fun to be around and such an inspiration to anyone in a relationship, long distance or not. They’ve overcome many obstacles, often involving distance and the nature of their careers. They truly seem to have a connection that none of that could ever break. They enjoy the time that they do have together and look forward to more of it. We could learn a lot from the Zilbermans!
Lauryn Martin, my business partner, and I were fortunate enough to spend some time with this awesome couple a few months ago, when we visited Virginia Beach for the Steel Pier Classic and Surf Art Expo. They opened up their home to us without hesitation and their hospitality was unforgettable!
I thank you, Laura and Eric for being such sweet people and sharing your love story with us!
For Laura’s birthday, Eric asked me to paint a portrait of the two of them from La Mia Bella’s (local photographer) photo and include a few extra sentimental details. What a thoughtful birthday gift! I have to admit, I listened to Glen Miller Pandora the whole time I painted this and it transported me into an old military romance film. Maybe I was just tired, but I gladly latched onto that inspiration and let it carry me through this painting!