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Reedsburg resident shares story of resiliency during pandemic
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Reedsburg resident shares story of resiliency during pandemic

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If there’s anything Sara Britt has learned over the past year, it’s she’s more resilient than she believes.

One year ago life was uncertain for the Reedsburg resident. She was afraid to step outside her house or travel anywhere that would expose her to coronavirus and the possibility of passing it to her family. She was especially concerned for her young daughter, Kennedy, who has a medical condition that could leave her more susceptible to catching the virus.

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Britt was taking almost every precaution imaginable, wiping down every high-touch surface, wearing masks in public and avoiding indoor crowded areas. She enrolled her eldest daughter, Kali, in virtual school to limit her exposure to the coronavirus. Her fiancé, Amber, lost her job due to the economic effects of the pandemic.

Britt started an online fundraiser to help raise money for expenses. She also took up low-cost photography and started her own business Wild Child Photography.

Britt has passion for serving the public with her photography skills, which is why she keeps her costs low. She documents her photography through her Facebook page.

“I do believe everyone deserves nice pictures without costing a mortgage payment,” Britt said. “They deserve nice pictures to look back on.”

A new opportunity

While Britt is still concerned about the coronavirus and still taking precautions, she’s been able to move forward with her life rather than live in fear. Last year, her family took a trip to Memphis, Tennessee, and booked a private tour to visit The Jerry Lee Lewis Ranch that turned into an opportunity of a lifetime.

While at the ranch, she struck up a conversation with one of the tour guides. The guide then told the ranch’s operations manager and Lewis’ goddaughter Kelly Chelette about Britt’s love of history and photography. For Christmas, Britt sent a calendar with photos she took at the ranch as a gift for Lewis and his wife, Judith, Chelette said. Both were impressed by the gift and kept it in their home, Chelette said.

Chelette researched Britt’s photography online and was so impressed by her work she invited her to photograph Jerry Lee and Judith Lewis’ ninth wedding anniversary March 9.

“I decided to invite Sara because unlike several photographers, Sara sees her work as more than just a ‘job,’” Chelette said in an email. “She puts her entire heart and soul into it. She is extremely personable and at the same time, not imposing.”

Chelette described Britt’s photography as “unique” and she “thinks of angles, arrangements and ideas that no other photographer I’ve worked with has done.” She also described Britt as a “very kind and genuine” person.

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“She is extremely courteous and respectful. In addition to that, she is an all around fun person,” Chelette said of Britt. “When we met her, both myself and Mrs. (Judith) Lewis felt as if we had known her forever.”

Britt was awestruck by the opportunity to take photos for the rock and roll icon at his wedding anniversary. “It was a very special and humbling thing,” Britt said.

Three of Britt’s photos taken at the ranch are on display there, Chelette said.

Photographing the Lewis’ wedding anniversary led to another opportunity for Britt. Chelette said Britt will be photographing and assisting in coordinating a Facebook live event May 2 at the Lewis Ranch. The event is a live concert inside the home of Jerry Lee Lewis and will consist of several performers. The line-up includes piano player Doug Cooke, Jerry Lee’s bass player Ray Gann and 12-year-old prodigy Finley Watkins.

The concert will also feature raffle prizes and donations will be accepted through PayPal. All proceeds go towards the reopening of the Lewis Ranch, which Chelette said took a big hit during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Fiery spirit

Britt is no stranger to resiliency. As a child she went through 12 foster homes for a couple of years before she was adopted by a family in Baraboo. Britt’s father was a fan of Lewis and introduced her to his music at a young age. She admired Lewis’ story and listens to his music as inspiration. The rock and roll pioneer helped Britt get through difficult experiences as she moved from various foster homes. Lewis’ songs gave her hope better days were on the horizon.

“I’ve always kind of carried his fiery spirit with me,” Britt said. “Getting to be face-to-face with him, having him look me in the eyes and shake my hand, it was surreal that’s all I can say.”

Britt hopes opportunities at the Lewis Ranch will be a catalyst for other prospects down the road. If it doesn’t, she’ll still be satisfied.

“In all honesty, if this is the last thing I do I would be completely fine with this,” she said.

Britt has so much else to be thankful for and opportunities to look forward to. For Wild Child Photography, she has doubled the number of Facebook followers and is a couple hundred “likes” away from giving her the opportunity to brand endorse.

Britt said her eldest daughter has adapted to virtual schooling and her family moved into a larger apartment. Her adoptive family is in the process of turning 500-acres of land into an agritourism space complete with a campground, fresh gardens and natural pond for the Baraboo community. She said fundraising has started and they hope to open it next year. She’s also hoping to take pictures for her family’s new endeavor.

“Things are looking up, I suppose,” Britt said. “As long as you have enough hope, determination and support around you, you can do anything.”

When asked what advice she would give others, she offered words of encouragement and hope.

“Stay strong and just to always have a goal for that light at the end of the tunnel,” Britt said. “At some point you will reach the end.”

Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.

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