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Local photographer uses challenges as opportunities

Special to The Clinton Courier

Local photographer uses challenges as opportunities

Gerrit Overway

Amateur photographer Gerrit Overway of Clinton is no stranger to overcoming challenges. He underwent skull reconstructive surgery when he was four months old, followed by a long battle with Legg-Calve-Perthes, a rare childhood condition that affects the hip.

After turning sixteen and overcoming bronchial difficulties, Overway was faced with major surgery to address complications from scoliosis. Following a twelve-hour surgery at the University of Michigan’s Children’s Mott Medical Center to correct his spine, he struggled through complications from the surgery and continued to grow.

Once he was fully healed, Overway’s subsequent growth required two Achilles tendon reconstructions to allow for his continued development.

Coupled with his physical and health challenges were diagnoses of Asperger’s syndrome, mild autism and retentive delay.

However, even with the odds stacked against him, Overway found he had a talent for photography.

His desire to overcome his challenges rather than succumb to the difficulties, have led him to seize opportunities that have brought him face-to-face with NASCAR greats, the legendary Blue Angels and encounters with nature’s wonders.

“His first photos came from a vacation to Austria and Germany with his grandparents and his father at the age of nine,” his mother, Dawn, said.

“He’s photographed the volcanoes of Hawaii and the peak of Mt. McKinley in Alaska,” she said. “He’s been part of the team with the Blue Angels and has photographed NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson.”

Overway’s work has been on display around the country. Locally, his photographs can be seen at the Art and Craft Market on Monroe Street in Clinton and on the walls of Beagle Bagel in Madison.

He says his motto of “Why not me?” keeps him focused and drives him to produce creative work and to hopefully inspire others to follow their passions and impact others to make a positive difference in the world.

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