My Town: Carl Bott

Where the heart is with retired Marine and Co-Owner of Free Fire Media, Carl Bott…

I met Linda the night before I deployed back to Fallujah, Iraq, at an award show in Beverly Hills. I was to give the Pledge of Allegiance and Linda was the director backstage. That night I met Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Ann Margret, Burt Reynolds and many more celebrities and my photo was taken with all of them. Later, I went through the photos and there was a photo of Linda. I emailed the producer to see if Linda might want to write to a Marine. She did. For the next six months.

Upon my return to the United States, Linda said I should visit Redding. It was veteran- and Harley-friendly. I rode up for a visit and never left. Linda and I married six months later, and the North State has become my home in every sense. I had never lived anywhere longer than three years my entire life, and have now lived in Redding over 13 years.

Why Redding and the North State? It has everything a sensible person could want. The people here are genuine – not concerned about your social status, wealth or education. They measure a person on their word, their values and their commitment to society. Do we all agree all the time? No. Like a family, we argue, sometimes vehemently but when the chips are down we pull together.

Northern California has had a number of natural disasters. The worst for our local area was the Carr Fire that burned into Redding and Shasta County, destroying a number of homes and costing several people their lives. It was almost magical watching the “family” come together. Volunteering, raising incredible amounts of money, offering shelter to those burned out and more. It was what I expected from this region.

The North State is also incredibly beautiful. Spending nights on a houseboat on Shasta Lake, camping in the Trinity Alps, hiking the Burney Falls area and standing at the base of Mt. Shasta, drinking in the beauty of the area is just part of the magic of living here. Fishing and floating down the Sacramento River or the Trinity River rivals any place in the world for fishing and the beauty of nature.

I spent over 32 years of my life in the Marine Corps and I’ve worked throughout the world. I never once felt like settling down in any place until I walked along the Sacramento River Trail, spent a weekend on the coast at Smith River and watched the Colt 45s play and then marveled at the fireworks at the Civic. This became our home and Linda and I have never questioned our decision. Home is where the heart is, and the heart is Northern California.

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At Enjoy, the goal is to share all that is good about living in the North State. To see so many people truly enjoy the magazine is an incredible reward for the whole team. Having only exposed the tip of the iceberg when it comes to story ideas, there’s so much more to share with our community in the years to come.

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