Portrait of Jerry


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Today is Veterans Day in the United States of America. We celebrate Veterans Day to honor the veterans who sacrificed so much to make sure that our freedom is preserved and that we, in this country can go on having a high standard of living, discover new things with high level science and technology, and have a booming economy.

I met Jerry at The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall. At the time of this interview, it was located in Palmdale, California, USA. We were lucky to have the memorial here, in Antelope Valley, just this time of year.  Many people came to honor the names that were on the Vietnam Memorial on this day. We were equally lucky to have Jerry serve as a host to help both veteran families and non-veteran families get their questions answered regarding the wall and regarding the travelling project.

Jerry had a short career with the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Vietnam era, at a very young age, and was honorably discharged due to a medical condition. His mother made him promise that she would sign for him if he made only one tour, and he listened to his mother. He told somebody once, “You know, I was more afraid of my mother than I was of the whole Marine Corps.”

Jerry told me that, “I really enjoyed being in the Marines I really loved it, and it and when I came back, I went to college.”

Jerry also wanted me to understand, clearly, and emphatically, that, “There is no such thing as a former Marine. A marine is a marine is a marine. I am a United States Marine Corps Veteran.”

Jerry grew up in Oklahoma and Texas and worked for several oil companies. Jerry started working on the oil rigs, drilling, when he was thirteen years old, “In those days, everyone worked on the oil rigs, and you could always find work on the weekends when you were a kid.”

After returning from his tour in Vietnam, Jerry studied speech and psychology in college and then worked in oil companies’ offices performing accounting and contract duties. Jerry was well-rounded in the business: from the hands-on industrial work to the managerial office work. He had good working knowledge of how to drill oil wells as well as administrative responsibilities.

Jerry had two outstanding children and he had a lovely wife, “who put up with me and that’s what counts. And I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.”

Jerry volunteered for a hospice and took care of all the terminal veterans. One of the activities Jerry undertook was to retrieve copies of the terminal veterans’ discharge papers, without them knowing it, then create a framed certificate that thanked them for their service. Next, he arranged for local active-duty recruiters to wear their class-A uniforms and present the certificates.

At the location of the memorial, I saw the American flag below, and Jerry was kind enough to take a picture in front of it. When I showed it to him, he said that it reminded him of the poster from the 1970 movie Patton, staring George C. Scott.

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Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Ed


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Ed was in the recycling business, meaning that he bought and sold scraps and surplus. Ed’s business, National Metals & Surplus, was in Rosamond, California, USA. He was at that location for eleven years. Prior to that, he was situated for twenty years in Lancaster, California across from the old Fairgrounds.

Before that, Ed was employed in Van Nuys, California. Essentially, he was in recycling, surplus and scrap since 1956. “So this has been my this field for over 61 years,” he told me.

Of course, when he first started, he didn’t own a store. He worked for someone else, and eventually acquired his own store.

In this portrait, Ed can be seen standing on his industrial scale.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Nitesh


Nitesh was a seventeen year old high school senior who was born and raised in Lancaster, California, USA.

He wanted to attend Duke University when he graduated because, “it has a really good engineering program and I want to be a bio-mechanical engineer…I visited their engineering department when I went to my cousin’s wedding, and I just liked it.”

Nitesh’s parents were from Bangalore, in South India. They came to the United States because most of their siblings moved to the United States, and his father did his residency in the United States. His father was a nephrologist (kidney specialist.)

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Steve


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Steve was an electrician for 38 years. He became an electrician because it was interesting work. He worked out of Lancaster, California, USA. He was originally from Santa, Clarita, California.

In this portrait, Steve is beside an old/salvage jet engine, which he found fascinating.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Rafael


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Rafael was a meticulous gardener who was very proud of his work. After he completed his work, he would go to the local dump and get rid of each shred of debris that he cut down. He also swept the yard and driveway and used a leaf blower to clear the entire area. There was absolutely nothing that he did wrong. He was just the most amazing tree trimmer, tree climber and gardener I met.

Rafael invested much of his profits into high quality equipment, a truck, and a trailer. All this was essential for him to complete his exceptional work. He not only trimmed trees, but he was skilled at climbing palm trees.

In this portrait, as Rafael trims a bush; you can see a stick falling.

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21-R by Melody

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Wordless Wednesday
Don’t forget to change your smoke detector batteries!!p>

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Gena


Gina was originally from Akron, Ohio, USA. She came to California to experience something new. Then she stayed because, “What honestly kept me here, was the weather. I don’t miss that snow and the brutal winters.”

Gina was a cardiovascular technician who worked in the Intensive Care Unit at Palmdale Regional Medical Center and helped with critical care patients. She monitored: oxygen levels in  blood,  blood pressures, significant rhythm changes, arterial lines, and checked EKG readings to make sure nothing was wrong.

Gina worked with cardiologists and had been in this career for 20-plus years. She was trained in the first hospital she entered, in 1981, Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood, California. They had a certification course, “and that’s what set me on my path.”

She wanted to say to the world that, “God is good, good all the time, all the time, and God is good.”

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Jayden


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Jaden was eight years old and loved to play in the park. He also loved his dog .

His favorite thing to read was the Magic Tree House series. His favorite school subject school was math and he wanted to be an engineer.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Vanessa


Vanessa was from Los Angeles and was a receptionist/scheduler at the office of an ophthalmologist. She enjoyed her work very much and was friendly and helpful.

In this portrait, Vanessa is dressed as “Where’s Waldo” and even has the dark round glasses to match.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Saeed


Saeed was born in Budaun district , India but grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. He came to the United States in the early 1990s and prior to that was in the Merchant Marine as the Chief Officer of cargo ships.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Anna


It was Halloween and I was walking through Beverly Hills, California, USA, when I saw a woman getting  wonderful Halloween makeup being applied to her face. I stopped in a very chic beauty salon and asked Anna if I could make her photograph and she graciously said yes.

Anna was from Kiev, Ukraine. She was a fitness instructor in the Beverly Hills / Los Angeles area.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.