RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–Don Rutledge, who has photographed Southern Baptist missions worldwide for nearly 40 years, is recovering after suffering a stroke Aug. 13.
Rutledge, 70, was shopping with his grandchildren and his son, missionary Mark Rutledge, when he felt weakness in his legs and collapsed. Paramedics transported him to Johnston-Willis Medical Center in Richmond, where he was placed in intensive care for tests and observation.
Rutledge initially lost some movement on his left side and his speech was affected. But he was speaking clearly and moving his left arm and leg the next day, his daughter-in-law, missionary Peggy Rutledge, said. He was moved to a regular hospital room for continued observation.
“He’s doing much better than we originally thought,” Peggy Rutledge said Aug. 14. “They’re not anticipating any permanent damage. That’s a real praise.”
Rutledge, from Murfreesboro, Tenn., has received more than 300 awards for his photographic work, which has taken him to some 140 countries. He worked on the staff of the New York-based Black Star photo agency for 10 years before joining the Southern Baptist Convention’s then-Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) in Atlanta in 1966 to cover missions stories throughout the United States. In 1980 he joined the then-Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) as a special assignment photographer. He retired in 1996, but has continued to work at home and abroad on freelance photo assignments. He speaks frequently to various groups on the art and craft of photography.