Four Local Photographers To Receive Hometown Hero Bridge Award

BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Four talented photographers with a passion for supporting the community have been named recipients of the Hometown Hero Bridge Award.

Jody Smalley, Jerry Lohman, Sean Walker and Bryan Kayne, who are collectively known as the Pride of the Panthers, will receive a Bridge Award at the 46th annual Hometown Hero Awards Banquet, which will take place on Thursday, August 26.

For the past four years, the Pride of the Panthers has taken thousands of student-athlete photos, which they have shared for free with families and the community. The ability to capture special moments through a lens has had a significant and lasting impact, especially for those families cheering on their children from the sidelines.

“Because of them, I have some wonderful memories of my daughter playing varsity sports all four years,” wrote Ashley Zale in her nomination letter. “As a parent, you want to be able to give 100-percent attention to the game. You don’t want to hold a phone or camera in front of your face and hope you get one good shot. You could miss some great moments.”

The photos are also used for end-of-the-year celebrations, and they are featured in the high school yearbook and in The Mirror.

MHS athletic director Matt Szyndler said that the love for photography the four have shown is a gift to the community.

“Many of us fondly remember experiences from our youth, but we only have the memories. Maumee student-athletes have a digital archive of their experiences that spans several years, and these photos will never go away, they will never be lost, they will never fade or be damaged,” Szyndler wrote.

Also submitting nominating letters were MHS sports information director Christina Jackson, MHS teacher Jamie Naragon and Michelle Fairchild of Meredith Party Rentals. 

The 46th annual Hometown Hero Awards presented by Metamora State Bank will take place on Thursday, August 26 at 5:30 p.m.

The cost to attend is $40.00 per person or $350 for a table of 10.   Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

For information or to purchase tickets, contact the Maumee Chamber of Commerce at or call (419) 893-5805.

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