ADA, Okla. (KFOR) – You cannot put a price on memories. Sometimes, as parents, we are so in the moment that we forget to capture it, and that is one of the reasons Wes Edens has not put down his camera.
“I have a senior daughter this year, and he has been at all of her events through high school,” Catherine Ellis said. “Even at her college signing, he came and took numerous pictures. It’s something that I never thought to do and now I am so thankful.”
Catherine Ellis teaches first grade at Vanoss, a small school district just outside Ada. Wes is not only known around town, but around the state, for photographing events big and small at schools from one part of the state to the other. He does it all free of charge.
“They are priceless to me now,” Ellis said. “Everybody can get pictures, even people who can’t afford them. I think it’s a really cool thing that he’s doing, and we didn’t know how to thank him, and we came up with this idea.”
Ellis and her fellow faculty members nominated Wes for Pay It 4Ward. Tonya Barnes with First Fidelity Bank knows just how busy life as a parent can be. She also knows that expenses can add up and appreciates the generous spirit Wes pours into his hobby. First Fidelity Bank sent Wes $400 in appreciation of his efforts.
Moments before KFOR surprised Wes, he showed up at the school thinking he was there to take pictures of a special event.
“He said because he was an investigator, he’d taken pictures of bad things for all of his adult life, and now he wanted to take pictures of good things,” Ellis said.
Wes has found a lot of good things. This year, he will have taken more than 50,000 pictures. He edits them, too.
“Everybody was doing a shout out to him last summer when everything was shut down. Parents all over the state were tagging and saying ‘Wes is the best’ because of the pictures that they have now that are priceless.”
Why does Wes do this?
“The short reason is because it’s a good thing to do,” he said. “I learned photography and used it mostly in a career as a criminal investigator, and of course a lot of that was at crime scenes. So, absolutely these kids are just far and away a whole different world.”
His wife is a retired school teacher and loves children just as much as her husband.
“She has never said a word about any of this, because I share with her a lot of the messages I get, and some of them will grab you by the heart,” Wes said. “It’s good for them. It’s good for me. I suspect I’ll do it for as long as I can.”
Nominate someone for Pay it 4Ward!
Pay It 4Ward is a program through which KFOR-TV viewers can help someone they know who could use extra cash immediately.
Each week someone will receive $400 cash because one of their friends or co-workers wants to “Pay It 4Ward.”
When nominating, make sure to include your name, daytime phone number, who you nominate and why. Please follow all the criteria when nominating.
Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.