A community photographer who documented Mt. Sterling nearly his entirely life was honored Thursday during a high school basketball game by students dressed in medical scrubs. It was a fitting tribute.
Mike Hanson passed away this week and it took the community by shock. So, to honor his legacy the “Blue Crew”, a group of students who attend high school athletic events to support their peers, dressed in scrubs and carried cameras to honor the way Hanson often looked when he worked behind the camera.
Hanson also worked in scrubs as a medical photographer at the University of Kentucky for nearly 30 years, while providing photographs to the Mt. Sterling Advocate.
“I could call Mike at any point in time and he wouldn’t hesitate to do any assignment that we asked of him,” said Jamie Vinson, editor of the Mt. Sterling Advocate. “It’s a huge loss for the community. Mike was everywhere. At every single ball game, every community event Anything and everything that happened in the town, Mike was there.”
Hanson made it a priority to be at every important event in Montgomery County and he tried to cover every home game, as well as shooting prom parade, graduations and other assignments given to him.
“He was a hard-driven photojournalism student in college,” said Morehead State journalism instructor John Flavell, who attended Morehead State University with Hanson in the 1980s. “We were all competitive, just a little cut-throat, but we helped each other out most of the time.”
Flavell said Hanson had the dream of every photojournalism student: to work at a big, metropolitan newspaper. Instead, Hanson took a job as a medical photographer for nearly 30 years at the University of Kentucky.
“That paid the bills and bought equipment, but immersing himself in the community let him be that good photojournalist he always wanted to be,” said Flavell. “He and Mt. Sterling needed each other.”
No cause of death has been reported, but family members told WLEX-TV that he hadn't been feeling well.
Various other tributes have been made by community members, including donations of scrubs to the “Blue Crew” and the opening of a scholarship fund in Hanson’s name.
“He captured all of those small moments that you don’t even consider,” said former Montgomery County Schools athlete Courtney Elliott. “He just had a way of making everything come together.”
Visitation will be 10 a.m. and a funeral mass be held at 2 p.m. Saturday and both services will be held at the Montgomery County High School arena.