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A picture is worth a thousand words...and sometimes a whole lot more

Jason Werling • Jul 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

The longer you work in a particular job, the more relationships you make. Especially as a photojournalist in a town and area we have at the Sandusky Register. I can't say I remember every single assignment and every single person I have met along the way, but some do stick out and those memories come rushing back when I see that someone I had met and photographed has died. There have been several people who have recently passed that I wanted to share my encounters with them.

In September of 2004 I was out searching for some "wild art." That is what we call it when we have some time in the day/night where there aren't any scheduled assignments and our photographers can go out and find feature photos that aren't necessarily connected to a story.

I was driving around trying to make a picture with a nice sunset as a backdrop near the Sandusky Bay shoreline. I know I'm not the first or will be the last to do this. The Sandusky shoreline has some of the best views of sunrises and sunsets, not that you have been able to see many of them this month. On a clear evening people in their cars line up on the Jackson Street Pier or keep a route of Battery Park, Shoreline Park and the pier, sometimes with ice cream in hand.

On this particular night in September I wound up on the driving loop at Shoreline Park and I noticed a little orange and a little green light glowing with a man fishing at the edge of Sandusky Bay.

The combination of Willie Amison's arched back as he set up his hook, his head lamp and the glowing horizon made for a beautiful photo, one of my favorites of the hundreds I have taken on the shoreline.

In March of this year I was contacted by Kathy Amison, Willie's daughter. Her father's health was failing and she wanted to incorporate the photos into his funeral program when the time came. I told her how much I remember of the brief encounter I had with her father and that I remembered it well and how polite and good-natured the man was when some random photographer asked to take his photo. I have included the original photo and his funeral program in this blog. His obituary can be found HERE.

In August of 2007 I was working on one of our "One Wednesday" projects of that year. One Wednesday was a look at a day in the life of one of our area towns. On this particular Wednesday in August, I was in Milan. I had driven around the quaint small town looking for something to photograph when I found a woman on a scaffold painting the outlines of a train. This is where I met Cheryl Usher-Schenk, a lively, tell-you-like-it-is woman who told me everything I needed to know about Milan, and then some. We chatted for a while about the town, her mural, Thomas Edison's birthplace (where she had been a groundskeeper), and about the One Wednesday project. I took photos of her husband John mowing grass later on during the project.

Our interaction didn't end there as Cheryl called me when the mural of the train was nearing completion and I returned to get some photos.  Cheryl died on the first day of this month at Stein Hospice Care Center and I wish I would have had the chance to take more photos of more murals and chat about all things Milan. Click HERE for Cheryl's obituary and for the One Wednesday story click HERE.

In November/December of 2007 the Register was contacted by the family of Angie Giummo. Angie had survived a car crash when she was 3-weeks-old. Her mother Penny died in the crash. Angie, who was paralyzed, had spent most of her life in a nursing home and on December 8, 2007, Register reporter Brandi Barhite and I celebrated Angie's 25th birthday with her and her family at Angie's new home, a nursing rehabilitation center in Toledo. Doctors would have never predicted that three-week-old baby would have made it to the age of 25. Despite her disability Angie was spunky and wasn't afraid to say what was on her mind. For spending so much of her life in various facilities, Angie was very down to earth and I think Brandi and I saw some of the biggest smiles on her face as her family reminisced and sang her happy birthday.

Angie outlived the doctor's expectations by a couple more years and recently passed on July 11 at the age of 28. You can read Angie's story by clicking HERE and her obituary can be read by clicking HERE.

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