Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I feel like this is where I’m supposed to write my autobiography and tell about my perfect childhood and the path that got me to where I am today. I truly did have the most incredible childhood and I was blessed with supportive parents and a loving family. Before I get to my stats, let me tell you this about myself: I love God, I love my family and support network, I am blessed to love my job and my business, and I love everything about Montana! My heart is on fire for helping people in the least likely ways and I really believe that every person has a story… their own story. All stories deserve to be heard. All stories deserve to be told. I love the stories of people’s lives!
I am a Helena native, through and through. I was born at St Peter’s Hospital in 1979 and grew up west of Helena in Colorado Gulch. My Dad’s great grandparents came from Germany and homesteaded the Colorado Gulch area. My parents being able to raise us children where my descendants settled is meaningful. I was the middle child of 3 (gasp! maybe we know how I got so assertive, haha!) and I’m thankful to get to see my siblings frequently.
I graduated from Capital High School in 1998 and was awarded a full ride ROTC scholarship at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. I swam competitively at Concordia College and graduated in 2002 with a pre-med degree with a major in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Psychology. After college, my goal was to attend PA school, however, I didn’t get accepted to PA school the first time I applied (yes, I was crushed!) and so I sought employment. My life took me in a different direction and landed me with a successful career in Cheyenne, WY. Marriage and kids soon followed and I lived in Wyoming for almost 8 years. God opens doors and closes doors, and after some devastating situations, I found myself as a single mommy back in Montana in 2009. My two kids and I moved to be back in my hometown Helena and we pioneered new lives for ourselves. My heart was so happy to be back HOME in MONTANA. Sigh of relief!
I married my husband Nick Bright in 2011 and together we are raising my incredible children, Ryan (12) and Abby (9). My children are very compassionate little humans with such amazing spirits. We live in an beautiful spot on Rimini Road and I run a fire extinguisher business that I bought 3 1/2 years ago. My husband works at Forterra Concrete plant and we are blessed.
Your photo here is taken on your family property, over the creek that runs through it. Tell us about what makes this land so special.
This home that my husband and I own was my grandparents’ home while I was growing up. My aging grandparents sold this house in 1995 and we were thrilled to get the house back into our family when my husband and I bought it in 2013. We live in the most magical place on Rimini Road and we have Ten Mile Creek running directly though our property.
This bridge, this creek, this land… it all has such a special place in my heart. My grandpa and dad built this very foot bridge that I’m standing on. I spent many days fishing off of this bridge and playing in the creek below when I was a child. Now, I enjoy watching my kids and their friends play here. This home has brought my heart unmeasurable joy!
What does your perfect day look like?
You may think I’m crazy, but I LOVE to work! Thankfully, God has provided me the opportunity to live my perfect day each morning when I wake up. I start my days in this home that I love so much and I go to work at a business that I bought 3 1/2 years ago. I own Action Fire Extinguisher Service, which I bought in 2013 from an amazing couple that had ran the business for 14 years. Owning a fire extinguisher business was never part of my “five year plan” but God opened this door of opportunity and I jumped right through it (even though I’m not using my degree… sorry Mom and Dad). This business has afforded me the opportunities to shuttle my kids to and from school, be present in their schools as needed, and volunteer a bit of my time. I’ve been able to have my son and some of his friends work with me at my business and learn how to conduct business and treat customers with respect. This life allows me to ski on the snow days, hunt in the fall, kayak and camp in the summer, and love life every day! I’ve strayed a bit from the question, but in my reality, every day is my perfect day. Even the hard ones.
On those less than perfect days, do you have a quote or motto that you use for encouragement?
Goodness, yes! I definitely have some “go to” Bible verses that fuel me through my struggles. When I was a child, my mom laid the verse from Jeremiah 29:11 on my heart and it has been my verse ever since. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Even in the hard times I am instructed to trust that God has plans to prosper me and not harm me. We each have a great big future and some days I can easily count my blessings using all my fingers and toes, and some days, I count my blessings on only one hand. But getting through both the tough spots and the successes has shaped me and built me.
What was the last movie, TV show or book that really impacted you and why?
Reading? What’s that? Joking… I “read” audiobooks and podcasts while I work. Nothing monumental and meaningful is on my playlist right now. After over-indulging in political reading during the weeks before the election, my mind is taking a hiatus from meaningful reading. TV…umm…well, if I can scrape a few free minutes in the evenings I usually watch whatever is hanging out on my DVR that I intended to watch two years ago.
Describe one of your happiest memories.
Uff da! You’re asking me to choose one? Impossible. Let me list a few: making lefse with my grandma, getting wood with my papa, camping with my grandparents, childhood bickering with my siblings (I love a good challenge), hunting with my dad, skiing with my mom, teaching my son how to drive, watching my kids become excellent human beings, taking friends of my kids on adventures, skiing with my children, enjoying a summer campfire with my husband, skiing all over the state, raising 4-H animals, college memories, becoming certified as a foster parent… gosh, it seems overwhelming to choose one favorite memory. I just can’t.
What’s a hobby or activity you’d like to try, but have never gotten around to?
In 2003, I was registered for flying lessons and wanted to work toward obtaining my pilots’ license, however on the same day of my first flying lesson I learned that I was expecting my first child. Flying lessons got put on hold, but I’d still love to learn to fly! Someday, I will. I got bit by the flying bug when I had the privilege of flying with my neighbors in their private planes and the desire is still in my heart.
Also, my daughter is learning how to play the guitar and I’d sure love to learn that, along with learning how to play the piano. I’ve also dreamt of skydiving… that WILL happen. Someday. I was able to take up telemark skiing two years ago, and I just love checking things off the bucket list!
What are some words your friends would use to describe you?
Probably crazy, mostly! I think my friends feel that I’m a slight bit on the crazy side. Energized. Optimistic. Caring. Generous. Thoughtful.
What do you value most in a friendship?
Tolerance, compassion, honesty, and acceptance. My friends also have to be a bit crazy and always ready for an adventure!
Coffee or tea?
Coffee…..black. Cold or hot. It doesn’t matter, as long as I’m drinking it.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Both! Dark chocolate, absolutely. And vanilla bean flavored anything.
Introvert or extrovert?
I’d describe myself as a very social introvert. I value being around people and doing things, however, I definitely need my alone time to recharge and process thoughts.
Rural or urban?
Rural! The more rural, the better!
Dress up or dress down?
Dress down… work clothes. That’s what I’m most comfortable in.
Cats or dogs?
Sunrise or sunset?
I’m an early bird and so I’ve definitely enjoyed more sunrises in my life.
Detailed or abstract?
I like details and I dislike surprises.
Classic or modern?
Classic. Simple. Basic.
Call or text?
Text! Even though I love hearing voices of friends and family, and I do love talking, but I’m also so task oriented that texting is the best for me. Texting gets it done quickly!
Fiction or non-fiction?
Salty or Sweet?
Sweet…then salty…then cover it up with a bit of sweet…and finally salty. Haha!
What do you love most about Montana?
The people! Hard working, down to earth, loyal, adventurous, and kind people.
What’s a lesson you are currently learning?
Grace. Have grace with other people. Be patient and allow others to be imperfect. I’m also learning how to be more open minded to other people’s beliefs, while standing firm in my beliefs.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
Family first! Health is a close second.