Our Voice: Winning case made for Tri-Citian of the year

Allen Brecke better be careful, or he'll give lawyers a good name.

Too late.

He's already made a lie out of the bum rap that has put lawyers at the receiving end of so many mean-spirited jokes.

The Kennewick attorney was named Tri-Citian of the Year on Saturday night before a crowd of well-wishers at the Three Rivers Convention Center.

His years of community service and financial contributions to worthy causes around the Mid-Columbia would elevate the reputation of any group he's a part of, including the one he's just joined -- winners of the highest honor our community bestows on one of its own.

The selection criteria is worth repeating: "The Tri-Citian of the Year .... contributes to positive community development and economic impact, causes broad positive impact to people, and improved quality of life in the Tri-Cities."

It's fair to say that the economic, spiritual and physical well-being of all Tri-Citians are much improved by Brecke's donations of time and treasure.

He literally is helping to change the face of the Tri-Cities -- particularly at Southridge and the west end of Columbia Park, where major public construction projects are under way, thanks in part to Brecke.

Brecke has been co-chairman of the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center's capital campaign steering committee, helping secure the money needed to start construction.

His efforts include using his influence as a longtime member of the Columbia Center Rotary Club to engineer a $300,000 pledge from the service group to the interpretive center.

He's pledged $50,000 of his own money to the Reach, but such generosity isn't unusual for Brecke.

Brecke donated his office staff and equipment to help set up Domestic Violence Services of Benton-Franklin Counties, then donated a BMW convertible to be raffled off for seed money to get the organization started.

He regularly opens his home to fundraising events to benefit the Red Cross of Benton-Franklin County, United Way of Benton-Franklin Counties, the Kennewick General Hospital Foundation and other charities.

Other charities that receive regular financial support from Brecke include the March of Dimes, Children's Developmental Center, the Boys and Girls Clubs, Young Life, the Vista Youth Center, My Friend's Place, Second Harvest Tri-Cities, Desert Sun Guild of Children's Hospital, Tri-City Water Follies, Delta High School and Tri-Cities Prep.

He has served on the Kennewick General Hospital board for seven years and worked behind the scenes with the governor's office and Sen. Mike Hewitt to keep construction of KGH's new Southridge hospital on schedule.

Brecke is a lifelong member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and for 25 years he has conducted services for residents of the Kennewick Life Care Center. He also regularly brings Holy Communion to homebound church members.

He's also a member of the Tri-Cities Visitors and Convention Bureau, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tri-City Development Council and the Columbia Basin Badger Club.

So, how many lawyers does it take to change a community for the better?

If you're Allen Brecke, just one.