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2021 Locals Love Us favorite volunteer: Martelle Luedecke

Martelle Luedecke is a 2021 Locals Love Us favorite volunteer. Staff photo Daniel Clifton

Martelle Luedecke shows up to Highland Lakes youth sports and events with camera in hand because she wants to make sure kids get recognition for what they do, whether that means a photo in the local paper, the school yearbook, or their own personal album.

“Some of these kids work so hard at what they do, but nobody ever sees that,” Luedecke said. “I want them to get a little recognition for their work.”

She attends countless games, school activities, and other events — both in and out of Burnet and often at her own expense.

Beyond those activities, Luedecke is the go-to photographer for many area nonprofits.

“Why do I do it? The smiles,” she said. “I love to see the smiles on people’s faces.”

Her efforts earned her the 2021 Locals Love Us favorite volunteer and favorite photographer awards voted on by The Picayune Magazine readers and KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune listeners.

Photography has been part of Luedecke’s life since she was a Girl Scout toting around a film camera. She’s kept a camera close by ever since.

She began taking wedding, family, and high school senior photos about eight years ago. After she moved to the Burnet area in June 2014, she set up Luedecke Photography.

Along with her paid work, Luedecke donates her time and skills. Any student, military, or volunteer organization photos she takes are free for the subjects to download. She also provides countless photos to schools for their use.

Luedecke just wants kids to get a little recognition. As an example, she pointed out that high school cross-country runners often leave their houses at 5 a.m. during the season so they can get to practice by 5:30 a.m.

After a morning practice, it’s off to school, possibly followed by another practice or activity after class. Very few people see this, Luedecke said.

Yet, a photo of a runner making their way along the course or even crossing the finish line symbolizes all the effort that led to that moment.

“It gives them a snapshot of their hard work and the success it can bring,” she said.

To Luedecke, she’s not just taking photos but heeding God’s calling to her.

“God gave me a gift and he told me to share it,” Luedecke said. “And that’s what I do.”

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