Seek beauty, give service, pursue knowledge, be trustworthy, hold on to health, glorify work and be happy. These are the laws in the Camp Fire Girls pledge, and these are tenets by which long-time Orcas Islander Joyce Burghardt has lived her life.
“Joyce, you have lived that pledge – you have helped build community – and we are all better for it,” said Janet Brownell, Orcas Island Community Foundation board of trustees president. “On behalf of the OICF board, and Orcas itself – thank you.”
During the annual OICF Report to the community on Thursday, Sept. 15 at the Odd Fellows Hall, the foundation honored Burghardt for her many years of dedication to the island community.
“This is not an honor that the OICF board bestows regularly or lightly,” said Brownell. “It is done rarely and it is done for those who are, in the estimation of the board, exemplary members of our community.”
Burghardt owned Crescent Beach Resort with her husband Galen in the 1950s, was an instrumental part of the development of the Eastsound water system and coordinated a March of Dimes polio vaccination campaign. In 1962, a storm wiped out many of the cabins at the resort, and the Burghardts were forced to move to Seattle. While living off island, Joyce earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in human resource management.
“She held several high level positions in organizations like the Singer Sewing Machine company, Red Cross and the Puget Sound Girls Club,” said Brownell.
In 1981 the Burghardts moved back to Orcas Island. Since their return, Burghardt, a mother of three, has served the community as a founding member of the Eastsound Planning Review Committee, OICF and Music Advocacy Group and has been on the Orcas Center, Longhouse and Medical Center boards. She has also been teaching water aerobics since 1988 at Orcas Athletics.
“You’d think they would have put their feet up and enjoyed retirement,” said Brownell. “Not Joyce.”
Burghardt and her husband donated their Crescent Beach property to the Land Bank, and she was also a “big player” in raising money towards the purchase of Waterfront Park in Eastsound.
“Music, commitment to growing a better community, earning a master’s degree, motherhood, swim lessons – and that radiant smile. Remember the Camp Fire girl pledge?” said Brownell. “Joyce you have lived that pledge – you have helped build community – and we are all the better for it.”