Longtime Cisco sports photographer gets unexpected community support after camera lens breaks

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CISCO, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Gary Stennett is a household name when it comes to Cisco Lobo sports, as any athlete’s parent will tell you.

“My oldest child is 30 years old now and I have pictures that he took even when he was young,” says Cisco mom Shannon Thompson.

No matter the event, Stennett has been on the sideline snapping photos since 1999.

A photo by Stennett made at the Cisco v San Saba game (2021)

“When you go back to when we played, in the ’70s you didn’t have nobody doing this,” Stennett says. “I always thought, ‘If I can do this and get it out there where everybody can get whatever they want, they’ll have that memory forever.'”

Being a Cisco parent himself, Stennett says he wants parents to be able to focus on the moment instead of messing with a camera.

“Those are memories that, they’re priceless, there’s no way you can put a value on those pictures,” says Thompson.

Lady Loboes v Coleman (2020)

And he doesn’t. Gary puts all his photos online for parents to save for free.

“It all goes on my Facebook page, parents know they can go on and take anything off that they want. It’s just something I enjoy doing,” Stennett says.

So when his zoom lens broke at a JV game, a lot of memories were on the line.

“It really broke my heart when that lens broke,” Thompson said.

Thompson called other Cisco parents and just a day after he lost his lens, a full-scale fundraiser was in order.

Parents and fans from decades of Cisco families donated to get Stennett a new lens. He says when he heard about the effort he was shocked at the response from the community.

“Well in two-and-a-half hours they had raised more than what the lens cost,” said Stennett.

The community raised $2,900 in just a few hours. Gary says he was able to buy a lens better than the one he lost, and Thompson says his response only proved how deserving he truly was.

“He said, ‘I do this because I love to give to people, because I like doing things for everyone else. I’m not used to people doing for me,'” said Thompson.

The act of kindness has allowed Stennett to continue to do for the community he loves.

“It don’t cost nothing, just time. And I’ve got plenty of time,” says Stennett.

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