Famous photograph taken in Evansville turns 50 years old


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – A picture is worth a thousand words, but this photo doesn’t need one.

“For so many years we were anonymous. I would tell her don’t let anyone put limits on you. You can do whatever you set your mind to.”

It’s especially valuable to Bobbi Jo Wright because someone close to her is at the center of this moment captured on film.

To the day, Bobbi is 50 years older now, but she hasn’t forgotten her younger self.

“A shriner, I think he may have been from California, or somehwere I’m not sure. He came up and saw the picture and he just had tears in his eyes. Then when Ken told him I was that little girl it was even more so.”

On this anniversary she’s remembering her childhood.

“That was the summer of ’73 I spent in a body cast. I spent it at home. I had hip surgery.”

Born with cerebal palsy things could be tough.

“We only had 4 TV channels back then.”

Her memory of June 11, 1970, takes her back to Mesker Park in Evansville, and a moment of kindness.

“He just had the kindest heart. It just meant a lot,” said Wright.

Al Hortman was the Shriner that day who saw little Bobbi Jo and her crutches at the amusement park, inspired to help her. He reached down and picked her up to give her a lift. A camera allowed it to begin to inspire others.

“I think it was in the 90’s it actually became the logo for Shriner’s Children Hospitals,” remembers Wright sitting alongside her sister. Bobbi Jo is one of eleven kids.

Her partner that day in the photo known as “Editorial Without Words” has since died.

“It was sad. I was very saddened by his death.

But just like his act of kindness, Al’s memory lives on. An image so iconic it’s not just a photo, but a statue, and even some have gotten it as a tattoo. A photo is the closest thing to time travel we have, and this one takes Bobbi Jo back.

“With it being from the back it can represent any child and any Shriner.”

Bobbi Jo’s message to this day, selfless as ever about the moment now shared and enshrined for eternity.

“It just illustrates so beautifully just what the Shriners and what Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals are all about.”

Bobbi Jo says it wasn’t just 50 years ago that she received help from the Shriners.

She says if it wasn’t for the help of their hospitals she may be confined to a wheelchair instead of walking.

The photo that’s now made its way around the world was taken by Randy Dieter, a photographer for the Sunday Courier and Press at the time

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