Hometown Hero Spotlight on Jack Bradley

Volunteer Square loves to recognize exceptional individuals that donate their time and energy to nonprofit organizations across Connecticut. These volunteers make a true impact in the lives of others. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, annual volunteer recognition events had to be canceled so we wanted to offer an alternative way to honor volunteers. We reached out to all the volunteer coordinators we work with and asked them to nominate volunteers. We are thrilled to share all the wonderful stories here and on our website, over the next several weeks. If you would like nominate a volunteer, please fill out this Nomination Form.

Hometown Hero - Jack Bradley, The Beardsley Zoo

Nominated by -Tracy Benham, Volunteer Coordinator at The Beardsley Zoo.

Here is what Tracy had to say about Jack:

"Jack Bradley has been an official volunteer with the Zoo for two years. Prior to that that he was a well known guest known for taking amazing photographs of the Zoo's animals which he happily shared the Zoo. As a volunteer he has contributed well over 750 hours, first as a Zoo-Friend and then becoming a Zoo-Docent a year later. He is also a member of the Zoo Council. Over the last two years, along with his wife Mel, also a Zoo-Docent, they have created the Zoo's popular Facebook Photo page which has hundreds of members. On this page, folks from all over the area post pictures of the Zoo's animals and flowers.

Jack was instrumental in the Zoo's first juried photo contest last year, he worked with Milford Photo on Zoo photography classes, and he’s shared his photographs for publicity and events with our public relations department. He is also just a super nice, easy going guy who is happy to help the Zoo in any way he can, including offering his locksmith services (he’s a locksmith by trade). During the shutdown, while so many in our community were missing their visits to the Zoo, Jack provided innumerable gorgeous pictures of our animals with fun and inspiring captions. We received many comments that those photos helped people get through these difficult days. Being an artist, he created downloadable coloring sheets based on the photos for children to use at home. There is so much more --suffice to say he is our hero, though he is too modest a man to call himself one!"

Interview with Jack Bradley

Why did you decide to start volunteering at The Beardsley Zoo?

I was raised by parents that instilled in me a love of animals & nature. I worked at the zoo when I was a teen. Loved it then & now that I have some time to volunteer it seemed like a perfect fit for my wife & I to do together.

What do you love about volunteering at the zoo?

With the photography group I started for the zoo, I get to make hundreds of people happy & expose them to the beautiful creatures that they may not otherwise be able to enjoy. It helps encourage people to take an interest in photography & also helps give the animals more exposure which will hopefully make people care about their place on our planet.

Have you participated in other volunteer work before?

Yes in many different venues, starting as child in the Boy Scouts.

How do you encourage others to get involved?

From the photography page & zoo photography walkabouts mainly. I also encourage friends & customers at my business to join the zoo and/or volunteer.

Is there anything else you would like me to know to include in the spotlight?

I'm excited to continue offering a view of the zoo online, but can't wait for restrictions to be relaxed so we can all come together to support such an important part of what helps make Bridgeport a special place. Teaching people that a modern zoo is no longer just animals on display for human entertainment. That it is how so many species will continue to bless our lives with their existence.