Jimmy Martin takes a short break from loading wood in the lumberyard. Jimmy is the brother of the Town and Country Minute Mart's owner, Mike Martin. Jimmy told me he's broken every bone in his body except for his neck, saying most resulted from his time as an amateur bull rider and brawling in bar rooms. Jimmy works long days in the yard and maintains a farm during his off hours. His hands are vivid evidence of the relentless work ethic that permeates most of rural Kentucky.
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In November of 2017, Mike Shearer was admitted to the ICU at Methodist Hospital in Omaha with pneumonia and complications from diabetes.
The following evening, Mike suffered a significant stroke and was rushed to Nebraska Medicine where he underwent a risky and life-saving craniectomy.. This procedure involved removing a large section of Mike's skull as well as a significant amount of brain tissue.
In addition to the complications from the stroke, Mike's heart became infected and required damaged heart valves to be removed and replaced with prosthetic ones.
One day after open heart surgery, Mike's body became extremely septic and he nearly lost his life.
Amazingly, Mike weathered all storms.
After receiving acute rehab at Madonna hospital in Lincoln Nebraska, Mike was admitted to QLI for rehabilitation in February of 2018.
QLI capitalized on Mike's passions, values and motivators to create a highly personalized program for Mike and his family.
On May 17th, 2018, Mike finally returned home to be with his wife and three children.
I had the incredible honor of documenting Mike Shearer and his inspirational family for a story for QLI. With Mike's determination combined with the spirit and energy of his wife, Denise, and their children, The Shearers are charting a course for a re-defined life; one with purpose, grace, hope and faith.
I combined my photographs with ambient sound and interviews to create the video imbedded below.
I recently had the honor of documenting Kent Templien's remarkable resolve as he recovers from a spinal cord injury he sustained from an ATV accident. I continue to be humbled to have the privilege and opportunity to tell the stories of the people we serve at QLI in Omaha.
May those who cannot walk be granted the ability to soar.
About once every 5 years I take a 1/2 day trip to the zoo. While I do recognize the many benefits zoos provide for wildlife and preservation, I always come away feeling a bit down and guilty. Maybe I'm just projecting, but the primates and the cats seem to express a genuine restlessness and sadness...