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Local Photographer Offers Free Services to Graduates

Portrait by Sue Brown

In a time when many are pushed into isolation with restrictions in their daily lives, it is easy to feel victimized. One GLE member turned her circumstances into opportunity to improve the lives of others.

GLE member Sue Brown is a professional photographer based out of Ludington, Michigan. Her work is impressive, ranging from dreamlike, painterly creations to wedding and senior portraits that go much past simply capturing smiles. Her photos tell stories, exploring the personality and energy of her subjects, and feel more in the realm of fine art.

“It’s fun! We try to make an experience out of what we do. We create a keepsake, something to cherish years down the road so the moment is not overlooked. One of the things I love about my job is that this is a very intimate process. We are involved with so many personal moments in our clients’ lives.”

When schools were closed due to COVID-19, Sue knew that a whole class of students were going to miss out on special experiences they deserved.

“Your senior prom and graduation are such rites of passage. They’re turning points.” Sue explained. “To miss out on these experiences means missing out on an ending, a pushing point that moves students on to their next path in life.” With that in mind, Sue and her husband Steve decided they would donate their services to provide high school graduation photos free of charge to area high school seniors.

“I love that age. High school students are so fun to talk to. The whole world is open to them and they are always so positive and forward looking. No fear of failing. I just want to help capture a memory that normally would not happen (under present circumstances).”

Growing up, both Sue and Steve were exposed to selflessness and community giving through their generous parents. Sue’s parents were involved with the Lions Club and Knights of Columbus. She shared fond memories of her dad selling Tootsie Rolls at fairs to help raise money for various charitable clubs. Steve’s father was involved with his local Rotary Club and is now with the Nomads, a group of retirees who travel to areas of need, like those affected by natural disasters, and assist free of charge.

“Supporting community is so important, now more than ever. We are social beings. I miss people. All people! Check in on your neighbor, drop off something nice for somebody. It’s the small things that really count more. Tiny little acts have a lasting effect. If everyone did something very small, it would make a large impact,” Sue suggests.

Should everything work out, booking for Sue’s ”small” contribution to the community is slated to begin June 13.

“We’ll obviously be wearing masks and will be practicing appropriate social distancing. I might have to use my zoom lens.” Sue laughed, referring to her camera equipment and not the video communication software many of us use today. “I am normally very hands-on and will have to be careful in taking extra precaution.”

We’re proud to focus on Sue and Steve as GLE members who put their talents to work making a difference in their community. Power. Purpose. You.

Did you know?
Channeling inspiration from members like Sue, Great Lakes Energy also commits resources and energy towards the betterment of the students within communities we serve.

  • The Youth Tour program targets high school sophomores and juniors, providing those selected with a leadership experience in Washington D.C. The tour consists of students from electric cooperatives across the country.
  • GLE provides classroom grants to schools throughout our service area. Teachers and administrators apply in August and can receive up to $2000 to fund innovative programs aimed at enriching student education.
  • Great Lakes Energy offers a free safety demonstration program, with a tabletop display for indoor student and youth presentations, to bring important electrical safety information to its members and to service organizations in areas where GLE members live.
  • A scholarship is also offered to students pursuing a Utility Technician Certificate at Alpena Community College in addition to a pre-apprenticeship program based out of Boyne City High School geared towards positioning students for electric line work.

You can learn more about our Youth Programs by visiting the community section of our website.

youth tour

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