Pat Baldridge


Around The Bend

Written By Pat Baldridge

Jeff Gaura leads high adventure travel tours around the world and coaches and competes on Team USA in the sport of duathlon.  But even professional athletes can’t always predict what’s around the bend.  Gaura was given a second chance to live after plummeting 31 feet over a bridge!

On the morning of April 11, 2020.  Jeff was cycling solo on a 60-mile ride climbing and descending a mountain highway on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Suddenly, as he rode around a familiar bend, he missed a critical curve and flew over a bridge.  Fortunately, he missed the river, and landed on the riverbank.  He said he was yelling ‘Jesus, Jesus! Jesus, are you taking me home, or am I going to get a second chance to live?’

Gaura somersaulted twice before hitting the riverbank. The handlebars protected him from landing on his head or back but broke all but one of his ribs. He was breathing heavily as he fell, and when he hit the bottom, his left exploded. His legs were OK, but one arm was dangling, and his brain was close to shutting down.

As Jeff continued to relate the story, he said he looked up from the riverbank and knew his only way to have a chance of staying alive was to climb back up to the roadway in hopes someone would see him and help.  Struggling, he ascended the steep embankment, got to the top, sat on the edge of the highway and lost consciousness.  Thankfully, the first driver to see him stopped and called 911.  An ambulance soon arrived and took him to the nearest ER.  When the doctors discovered the severity of his injuries. they transported him by another ambulance to a hospital that promised to give him the treatment necessary to keep him alive.

 And they did.

We met with Jeff and his wife, Linda, a month after his injury.  He gently hugged me with his one arm because he was still hurting and black and blue.  It was one of the most memorable and emotional hugs I have ever received!

My question for Jeff and for all my guests is “What advice would you give yourself today, if you only knew then what you know now?”

Jeff answered, “As I review the events of that period of my life, it was obvious that I was underachieving.  Sure, I had made a lot of money and had already done more than most people could do in two lifetimes, but my true talent as an author had been put on hold.  I told myself that one day, I would ‘get around to it.’  I also had some unfinished relationships in my life that needed mending.  I should have died, and when I laid in the hospital room, I knew that I had some books in me.  I am now nearly 2 years removed from the accident.  I have written five books and published four of them.  I have not fixed the broken relationships yet, but God continues to give me chances to pray for those people and be patient on His arrival of time and circumstance management.”

Our guests’ extraordinary stories will take you behind the curtain to see their life-changing experiences that will inspire, encourage and enlighten you!

Check out our Linked-in page at Pat Baldridge for more details.  To send your own story to Pat, email her at

Pat Baldridge is fondly known as “Chief Connector.”  As President of the Charlotte Christian Chamber, and Co-Founder and President of Women’s Initiative Network her ‘connecting’ skills have been extremely rewarding for many.

A prolific writer, Pat has been published in the Washington Business JournalThe Charlotte Observer, Warfield’s Business RecordThe Renaissance Executive ForumsThe Creditorial NACMOut & About MagazineVentures Charlotte, The Source, and was a regular columnist for The Business Journal of Charlotte. 

Baldridge has been a professional speaker, and management and sales trainer.  A partial list of prestigious clients includes Ford Motor Company, Baltimore Federal Executive Board, Carolina Health Systems, Dow Jones & Company, Duke Energy, Notre Dame College, Household Bank, Siecor Corporation and Sinai Hospital.  Before establishing her own company, Pat worked with Dale Carnegie Training, Sandler Selling Systems, and the Management Development Group.

Her Ways to Win radio vignettes aired on numerous radio stations and provided solid solutions for workplace challenges.  Baldridge’s niche was to train managers and salespeople to build rapport (connect) using the Neuro Linguistic Programing model.

Currently her passion is to share miraculous stories which inspire, encourage, and enlighten readers.  Her column Their Extraordinary Stories with Pat Baldridge does just that.

She and her husband Dave reside in Indian Land, SC.

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