Jeff Guerra has traveled and lived all over the globe. Whether it was through the world of PT or other pursuits, Jeff has always found a way to explore new places that appeal to him. Based on his interests it’s no surprise that Jeff eventually ended up in Bend. From the snowcapped mountains, to the lakes and endless miles of trails, Central Oregon seems like a perfect fit for Jeff and his family. Not so coincidentally, Jeff seems like a perfect fit for the Rebound culture. Please read for yourself.
REBOUND: First off, please tell us about some of your hobbies or ways you like to spend your time outside of work.
JEFF GUERRA: Outside of work in the winter I enjoy snowboarding and just about any activity that gets me outside, as I absolutely love snow. In the summer I enjoy mountain and road cycling, trail running and anything else that gets me out into the great outdoors. When I have money, I love to travel to new places both in the US and abroad. I also love to see live music, especially bluegrass.
R: Where did you live before coming to Bend?
JG: I was living in Anchorage, Alaska before moving to Bend. For anyone who has never been to Alaska before my advice is GO, there is nowhere like it.
R: Where are you from originally?
JG: I was born in Yonkers, NY on the fringe of NYC and grew up in Yorktown Heights, NY about 30 miles north of NYC. I was a great location to be able to experience NYC whenever you wanted it but live in a mostly rural/suburban lifestyle (at least then).
R: How many different places have you lived?
JG: Haha let me see…Yonkers, NY, Yorktown Heights, NY, Berea, Ohio, Missoula MT, Lake Placid, NY, Boulder, CO, Wanaka, New Zealand, Sapporo, Japan, Bethlehem PA, Steamboat Springs, CO, Anchorage, AK and now Bend, OR. So I guess I’ve lived in 10 different places in the US and 2 abroad.
R: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in PT?
JG: I was working in transportation operations management after I graduated college. I’ve always been involved in athletics in some form and was interested in the medical side of sports injuries. I went to one of my basketball teammates wedding and met a PT who encouraged me to volunteer at a clinic to see if I would like it. I already had a business degree in management/economics so I had to go back to school at night in addition to volunteering to get the science prerequisites I needed to apply to PT school. I guess the rest is history.
R: What is the most rewarding part of your occupation?
JG: The most rewarding part of being a physical therapist is all the great people you get to interact with along the way; coworkers and other medical professionals, a diverse array of patients with interesting backgrounds and the journey you go on with patients trying to help them regain their function.
R: It looks like you spent some time coaching basketball? Tell us about your background in hoops.
JG: As I mentioned previously I grew up in NY where basketball is king. I was the MVP of my high school my junior and senior years and played some college ball and post-graduation played in a NCAA sponsored summer league where the team I played on was undefeated for 3 years. A funny story, the league director of that summer league had a son whose team was unable to beat our team and kicked us out of the league for being “too aggressive”. The wife of one of my teammates successfully sued the city to have our team reinstated. The name of that team…The Supreme Court!
R: Favorite coaching experience?
JG: I have so many great memories coaching it’s hard to list just one as a favorite. The most rewarding aspect has been the relationships formed during that time with players, other coaches, school administration and players families that are still alive today. It’s great to see some of the kids that you coached grow up to become great parents and making positive impacts on the community.
R: You also worked as an English teacher in Japan. What led you to that experience?
JG: I took a leave of absence from work in 2005 to travel to Wanaka, New Zealand to become a snowboard instructor. I spent a season at Treble Cone ski area and many of the instructors told stories of travel to Japan to snowboard as its closer to NZ than the US is. It was my first time living abroad and meeting so many people there traveling the world it inspired me to give it a longer go the next time and I thought the easiest way for me to be able to live abroad was to teach English. I had never thought of Japan when thinking of great powder. I choose Sapporo, Japan after doing some research and just went to Japan without a job or a visa. I stayed for 5 years and it was 5 of the most memorable years of my life getting to live in a foreign country. If I could figure out a way to make it more financially feasible, I would still be living in Sapporo, Japan as its one of the most amazing places I have ever lived.
R: How is your Japanese these days?
JG: My Japanese can get me around the country, but by no means am I fluent. It’s kind of a difficult language to pick up because they use 3 different alphabets at the same time, the sentence structure is a bit different that English in that the verb is at the end of the sentence, and there is polite Japanese and casual Japanese which makes it a bit more confusing . But I am surprised how much I still remember and proud I can still read Hiragana, Katakana and some Kanji.
R: If you weren’t a PT, what would your profession be?
JG: If I weren’t a PT, I’d like to be either coaching basketball at the college or professional level or a backcountry snowboard guide in Valdez, Alaska!