Combining passion, interest and skill into a busy life | NevadaAppeal.com

Combining passion, interest and skill into a busy life

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Robert Bledsaw poses in front of bagpipes, a kilt and a Bible opened to the book of Timothy while at the Carson City Senior Center. Bledsaw is the official piper for the Carson City Sheriff's Department, the Minister of the River of Life Christian Fellowship, the volunteer coordinator and dining room supervisor for the senior center, and the commanding officer for the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps in Carson City.

It doesn’t take long to learn Robert Bledsaw is Scottish.

Whether he’s piping for the Sierra Highlanders Band or for the Carson City Sheriff’s Department, reading from his Bible, working at the Carson City Senior Citizens Center or commanding the Carson City U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, he’s always got a quick joke to pass along or light moment to brighten someone’s day.

Putting in equal time to all of his passions, Bledsaw, 41, always makes time for his family. He’s been married to Katrina for 21 years and has two children Travis, 21, and Danielle, 17.

Bledsaw gives credit to learning time management for being able to juggle many hats and duties in his life.

It was long talks with his grandpa that led him to the U.S. Navy.

“Instead of riding Big Wheels like other kids, I was playing with a G.I. Joe and a gun belt going after the bad guys in the yard,” Bledsaw said.

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“Did I tell you I’m Scottish?,” he asks.

Scottish from the tip of his dress white Naval cap to the Bledsaw Clan kilt and spats.

He wanted to make the Navy a career but blew out his left knee.

“After the Navy I did a lot of odd jobs and went to work for the defense industry as a contractor in Sacramento. That’s where I met Dean West. He got me into Bible study and eventually, I was ordained as a pastor in 1992.”

Bledsaw continues Bible studies in his home. He said every time he thought about starting a church, something happened.

“I minister to people and families who have been hurt by the church. I help them see a nonthreatening environment, and get a relationship with God and get back into the church.”

Bledsaw and his wife prayed about starting a church in Carson City. The family had visited here, this is where his parents live. But Bledsaw admitted he initially didn’t like Carson City (and not because he’s Scottish).

“About the time you say ‘no way,’ God has other plans for you,” he added with a chuckle. “Now you can’t get me out. I love it. And I love being Scottish.”

About five years ago Bledsaw followed his desire to learn to play bagpipes after attending the Multicultural Festival at Western Nevada Community College. It was there he discovered the Scottish Society and decided to join – well, because he’s Scottish.

While piping a dinner event for the Community Counseling Center, Bledsaw was asked by Reno Naval Cadet Commander David Treinen if he’d be interested in putting on his dress whites again.

“I asked him, ‘What do you mean?’ He said he wanted to start a Naval Sea Cadet program in Carson City. So I got more information, took some more (Naval) courses, got commissioned and added one and one-half more stripes on my shoulder. I’m commander, lieutenant junior grade.”

In just one year, the program has more than 50 youth enrolled and is making waves in the industry with its success. The kids are from Carson City, Douglas County, Silver Springs, Washoe Valley and Dayton. The Carson City Corps will officially be commissioned in June.

“My daughter is happy I served the country and this community. And she supports the cadet program.”

On an afternoon at the senior center, Sheriff Kenny Furlong was visiting when Bledsaw asked if he needed a piper for the department’s color guard. Furlong inquired and told Bledsaw, “Sure.”

“I’m able to give everyone quality time through good management skills,” Bledsaw said.

“Last year I served on the Scottish Society board as chieftain. I will be able to give it up this year so it will free up some time.

“Once in a while I do like a day of quiet. I like to watch Monday Night Football. I like the Dallas Cowboys. Did I tell you I’m also Scottish?”

– Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.

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