Steve Brewster and Dan Robbins made a plan together. Brewster suffered from multiple sclerosis, but he wanted to leave something behind.
For over three decades, Brewster operated Sportsman’s Chalet. At the end of his life, he found that he had a million dollars to his name.
The “problem” was that he had no one to leave it to.
That’s where Dan Robbins came in. Brewster entrusted Robbins with a final act of charity: giving his million away.
Robbins rather enjoys the process: “Oh, it’s great! Handing out other people’s money, how does it get better than that?”
Tasked with divvying up the money and aiding reputable organizations, Robbins has already given away hundreds of thousands of Brewster’s money.
The recipients so far have been charities like the Salvation Army and Lighthouse Mission in Bellingham. But there have been individual recipients as well.
There was one person in particular that Brewster had in mind: a young woman, Emma Briceno, whom he had met during physical therapy.
Her story was tragic. Briceno had had her freedom stolen by a drunk driver who crashed into her.
The accident left her paralyzed and relying on sign language to communicate. She’d had her life ahead of her and three kids to care for, but all of that was taken from her in one careless event.
After she became a paraplegic, the roles reversed and her children started taking care of her. It’s a long road and years of constant care ahead of them, and that must have touched Brewster because he gifted them with a van that would accommodate her wheelchair.
Months later, Robbins took the family a check for $60,000, intended for Briceno’s children’s education.
“For someone who really didn’t know us well, to think of us and want to help us that much, especially her kids, it’s such a relief to know they can have a future that they deserve,” Emma’s mom, Robin, said.
Robbins hopes that these acts of goodwill will cause people to think better of businessmen — most are any more miserly or selfish than anyone else. Brewster was a clear example of that.
“Well, this just goes to show you there was no greed in him,” Robbins said. “He gave it all back to the community.”
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