by Bob Phalan
Special to the Sounder
He quietly slipped out of view. As long as I have known him, Jim Bredouw has been doing something to help his community – especially the children of Orcas Island.
Soon after he landed here in the late 1980s, Jim saw a need for a place for kids to gather – and the Funhouse was born. Never asking for any public money, Jim got it done. The land was purchased, the building built, a board assembled, funds raised privately (mostly his own to begin with) and the vision was fulfilled. Once it was up and running, Jim excused himself from any control and left it in very good hands.
Now, 16 years later, the Funhouse stands tall as a safe place for all ages. From the Science Fair to teen night to Grad Night and everything in between the Funhouse has become an invaluable asset for our community.
Having accomplished that mission, Jim moved on to the next logical step: helping to create and fund a parks and recreation district. Again, it was mostly about the kids. Programs and fields were in dire need of support and upgrading.
Without proper funding, the original Orcas Rec was stumbling. Didier Gincig had done an amazing job for many years cobbling together great programs for our community. I was a member of the original advisory committee and witnessed Didier work miracles with little money. Then the “crash” of 2008 came along and the donations became more and more difficult to obtain and yet we had vital programs that none of us wanted to see dissolve.
Like Mighty Mouse, in stepped Mr. Bredouw, along with Bob Eagan, Ian Lister, Vicky Vandermay and Martha Farish and an all new and improved board was elected to “save the day” – and save the day they did. Meeting after meeting after meeting, it took these five souls years to put together a taxing district proposal to help fund the Orcas Parks and Recreation District.
Because of their dedication and clear message, the voters approved a levy. We now have a healthy and vibrant program which has recently taken responsibility for the much needed care and maintenance of Buck Park.
Now after another mission is accomplished, Jim is quietly slipping out of view again having submitted his resignation to the Orcas Parks and Rec board.
Jim has been a guiding light and role model – both as a community minded guy and a friend to so many. Even though it is the last thing on his mind, I hope y’all are able take a minute and thank Jim. I am looking forward to his next “mission”!