We had the good fortune of connecting with Jerry Bridges and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jerry, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
The question of “where are you from?” has always elicited an almost cliché response of, “all over”, or maybe it is fully cliché. Either way, I was born in California, raised in Washington, grew up in and travelled with the U.S. Marine Corps, then back to Washington, then a stint in New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and currently in Lake Havasu City Arizona. While in the Marine Corps I was stationed in Southern California, with a few temporary duty stations in Florida, Arizona, Okinawa, Iraq, and a few months on-board a Navy ship. That, is why I say I am from “all over”. Now I’m not saying that being from all over is any better or worse than being from your hometown but it certainly gives one a broader sense of self.
America, like the world in general, is made up of many different people. While serving in the Marines, I was honored to meet and serve with a great many of the best of those people. This gave me a bit of a crash course on not only learning the differences between Americans of different states or regions, but also a deeper respect for what brings us all together as Americans in general. Of course Marines themselves are a breed apart, so at some point you have to sort through the bravado in order to see the person underneath and learn what it is that they love about what they call “home”. After doing that for long enough, you can’t help but change yourself. This helped me to see past the stereotypes and start understanding people, show better empathy, and just be generally more accepting of differences. This was absolutely crucial to my successes in the various areas that I’ve lived since leaving active duty; almost as crucial as the many lessons that the Marine Corps itself teaches.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My journey to becoming a photographer started almost on accident. I don’t think I was even thinking about being a photographer until it happened. Originally I was just trying to share pretty pictures of the things I saw while avoiding my responsibilities and spending time outside. After sharing some pictures on-line that were taken at a local preservation site, I was contacted by the site’s communication and marketing director. She asked me if I would consider volunteering at the site as a nature walk and photography guide. I agreed and then suddenly realized that I might have to become serious about this whole photography thing. After that I spent all my free time on the trails taking pictures, learning how to take better pictures, and meeting other photographers. From there I learned about a website that I could easily sell my photographs with very little effort. Of course, very little effort translates into very little profit which is why my next steps will be to create my own site and take greater control of my future success. That has been slow going as I have spent the past five months traveling with my blind dog Andy who is a great travel companion but a terrible spotter.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As an outdoorsy person, most if not all of my close friends, are also outdoorsy people. Luckily, Lake Havasu is a great place for being outdoors. I would plan full days of kayaking on the river, hiking on the local trails, climbing in some of the nearby rock climbing areas, and mountain biking the trails at nearby SARA Park. Obviously the London Bridge is a good touristy spot to take some one for a short stop. There are also boats and other watercraft that can be rented as well as a ferry to the casino on the California side. My friends and I don’t really spend much time at restaurants but there are more than a few in town so getting a good steak or burger and beer after a long day outside would be a must.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Obviously I wouldn’t be who I am at all without the examples of my mother. She was a young mom, two kids by the time she was eighteen. If she ever once cried or felt sorry for herself, I didn’t see it. My mom never once sat on her rear, she finished her education, busted her butt to find work, and we always had food on the table and a roof over our heads. The Marine Corps of course provided many great examples and mentors, too many to shout out in this small place. I will always have love for the leaders that shaped me and the Marines that pushed me to be better. And I definitely have to heap mounds of love and appreciation on my wife Katie. She bought me my first camera and then busted her own butt taking care of the house and bringing home the bacon while I spent countless hours wandering around outside chasing pretty pictures.

Website: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/cecil-bridges

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