Friday, October 02, 2009

Brent Blackwelder's Retirement Party: Oh What A Night


By Norris McDonald

I went to the retirement party for Dr. Brent Blackwelder, left, last night. Oh what a great time we had. Brent was president of Friends of the Earth (FOE) for 15 years and I have known him for thirty years. The reception at the Swedish Embassy was attended by many of the environmentalists from the 70's and 80's. Wow. I had a chance to talk to people I have not seen in decades. Brent was in very good cheer (as usual) and greeted everybody gleefully as they entered. I was a guest at the table of Louise Dunlap and Joe Browder. Louise recruited me into the environmental movement in 1979. Brent is being replaced by FOE insider Erich Pica, right. The program was touching and a paddle was passed between Brent and Erich instead of a torch. Everybody laughed.

Some of the people I chatted with included: Washington power attorney Jack Blum, John McCormick, Jim Lyon, Barbara Bramble and David Conrad from the National Wildlife Federation, attorney Ed Grandis, League of Conservation Voters founder Marion Edey, former United Methodist Church energy specialist Jaydee Hanson, and Teri Blackwelder. Also present were Lester Brown, former Greenpeace President John Passacantando, Jayni Chase (wife of Chevy)--and other board members, and National Audubon Society alum Brock Evans, among many many others.

A wonderful film was shown (see below), "Friends of the Earth 40th Anniversary."

We ate and drank and ate and drank some more. We chatted the night away and it brought back great old memories of many such events in the 1980's. We stayed so long that the clean up crew took down the tables and were trying to sweep the floor. They eventually asked us to leave so they could close up. I kiddingly told the guy we were not leaving and the 4 or 5 people around me locked arms and chanted, "we're not going to leave." We all cracked up laughing along with the bouncer. And we left and walked back towards K Street under the Whitehurst Freeway. Oh what a night.

Good luck Brent in your future endeavors. I'll call you soon to get in a round of golf (Brent was on Duke University's golf team).

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