Holding honors long-time NC conservation leader

George Holding - CSPAN FEB 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. George Holding (R-NC) took to the floor of the House of Representatives on Feb. 5 to honor Greensboro resident Eddie Bridges.

“Members of Congress rarely get the opportunity to honor those who have truly dedicated their lives to the public good,” said Holding “That’s because it’s increasingly rare to encounter those who are truly selfless, truly dedicated to a cause larger than themselves, and who truly care about preserving the best of our natural resources for future generations.

“Greensboro’s Eddie Bridges is such a rare person, Madam Speaker,” Holding said.

Holding hailed Bridges as an “unselfish leader whose love of the outdoors and sportsmen community has led him to become one of the most effective conservation leaders in the history of North Carolina.”

“On behalf of North Carolina’s congressional delegation, I want the world to know what an impact Eddie Bridges has made, and to thank him in this official salute — which nobody has ever deserved more.

Holding recounted Bridges’ accomplishments, such as found the NC Wildlife Habitat Foundation. The organization raised a $5 million dollar endowment and funded $1.5 million in conservation projects in the Tarheel state.

Bridges projects listed by Rep. Holding include a quail habitat project at Sandhills Game Land, a bass habitat project at Jordan Lake, and an NCSU black bear research project in Hyde County. In addition, Bridges created the Frank A. Sharpe Junior Wildlife Education Center in Guilford County.

In his remarks, Holding credited Bridges with the idea for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission’s Wildlife Endowment Fund, the state waterfowl stamp and the state income tax check-off for non-game and endangered wildlife.

Holding said that Bridges had raised more than $200 million to preserve and improve our natural habitat areas.

Bridges served on the NC Wildlife Resources Commission for 12 years and over the years has received awards such as Field and Stream National Conservationist of the Year Award, the Budweiser National Conservationist of the Year Award, the Feinstone Award, the Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity Award and the Chevron Conservation Award.

“But talk to Eddie, and he’ll tell you these awards aren’t about him. They are about his desire to give something back,” said Holding. “As Eddie said to the Wilmington Star-News last January, quote, ‘it’s about much more than me, it honors the one million men, women and children who hunt and fish and inject more than $1.3 billion into North Carolina’s economy every year.’

From 1953-57, Bridges was a scholarship athlete at Elon, on the football team and track team.

Last July, Bridges was the first outdoorsman to be inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame. In an interview at the time, Bridges said his most recent project was creating a saltwater habitat that will create clean water for humans and marine animals and improve saltwater fish and oyster environments.

“On behalf of the entire North Carolina congressional delegation, I wish to thank Eddie for his years of service, his incredible resource development to strengthen our state’s wildlife, and the educational impact on our youth and future generations,” said Holding.

About A.P. Dillon 272 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_