Tony Bacon. Who better to opine on in our annual Corporate Philanthropy edition than someone fondly remembered and greatly missed as an upstanding businessman and innovator – one singled out as a community leader and a person often described as generous to a fault.
This is the edition we set aside each year to profile people and organizations in the region that make giving back an "above the line" commitment. And while we're on the subject of giving, there have been few others who meet the standard set by Tony Bacon.
Many longtime Southwest Washingtonians may be familiar with Tony because of his "be everywhere and talk to everyone" perspective in his newsletter, The Daily Insider. However, many more people throughout Clark County are aware of Tony because of his generous contribution of time and talent for political strategizing and fundraising.
Even during this sad time for Tony's friends and family, it's most interesting to think of the many members of seemingly unconnected circles coming to pay their respects. For many of these people, the only common thread was Tony – a man with a unique gift for making connections where none seemed possible.
Tony didn't give back because it was good for business. He gave because, for Tony , it was simply the right and important thing to do. I first became acquainted with Tony when the two of us served on the capital campaign committee to build the new sanctuary at St. Joseph Parish in the Heights. Both being Cougars, we hit it off immediately.
However, Tony wasn't one to talk much about himself or his involvements, unless of course it was to get you involved in what he cared about as well. When I fully consider Tony's long list of accomplishments for the organizations he served, I realize I'd seen only a fraction of Tony's talents.
Not one to simply write big checks, Tony knew how to build a campaign to get others to write their own checks, big and small. This is but a partial list of organizations to which Tony provided time, counsel, energy and passion over the years: CVTV, as a local election night commentator and analyst; the original St. Joseph's Hospital in Vancouver as a fundraiser; service for the Columbia River Economic Development Council and Identity Clark County; service on the boards of SWIFT and Council for the Homeless; working for the YMCA Capital Campaign and many others.
Over past couple of years, Tony and I would periodically meet for breakfast and talk about the community and about how our two publications might work together in the future. Now and then, I'd get an email from Tony that read, "It's time we got together for a bowl of mush, don't you think?" And so we would.
I'll miss sharing that bowl of mush with Tony. We will all miss Tony's wit, his passion for his community and for journalism. But most of all, we will miss his generosity.