KENNEWICK -- Longtime Tri-City attorney Allen Brecke was given the Tri-Cities' highest honor Saturday night for his charitable work, often done quietly behind the scenes.
The Tri-Citian of the Year award is given annually to a person who demonstrates "outstanding leadership and contribution to positive development, economic growth and quality of life in the Tri-Cities."
"I'm speechless," Brecke said. "I've admired this event for 25 years."
As the photos of past winners flashed on screens flanking the podium, Brecke said it was an honor to be among them.
Brecke, who was surprised with the honor at a banquet at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick, has provided leadership -- and often generous donations -- to support the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center, Kennewick General Hospital, Red Cross and United Way, among other organizations.
His white BMW convertible was raffled to provide the seed money to help start Domestic Violence Services of Benton-Franklin Counties and he also provided office staff time and equipment. He's been a supporter since, according to his nomination by Mary and Coke Roth.
At his recent 60th birthday party, Brecke raised money for the Red Cross of Benton Franklin County and the Tri-Cities Food Bank, one of many fundraisers he has held at his home.
He has been co-chairman of the Capital Campaign Steering Committee for the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center for more than four years, helping make the recent decision to downsize and revamp the design, which has allowed the project to move forward. He's pledged $50,000 of his own money to the project, and has been instrumental in getting the Columbia Center Rotary to pledge $300,000 to the center.
He's been a member of the Columbia Center Rotary since 1985, including serving as president and on the group's charity board.
In 2012, he worked behind the scenes with the governor's office and Sen. Mike Hewitt's office to keep the construction of a new Kennewick General Hospital in the Southridge area on schedule, preventing a costly slowdown, according to his nomination for Tri-Citian of the Year.
He served on the hospital's board for seven years and has helped the KGH Foundation Gala Devine by throwing dinner parties at his home and auctioning weeklong stays at his vacation home in Southern California.
He's also been generous with United Way of Benton-Franklin Counties. Since serving on its board from 1998 to 2003, he has been a member of its Alexis de Tocqueville Society, requiring a $10,000 donation. He's used his conracts to recruit for the society and has played host to many of its events.
Former Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Gonzaga University law school classmate, tried to get Brecke to apply for a seat on a state board or commission when she took office in 2005. She was successful in 2007, when she offered a position on the Community Economic Revitalization Board.
Six years later, he continues to attend day-long meetings of the board in Olympia every other month as a volunteer.
He also uses his time to conduct services two Sundays a month for the residents of Kennewick Life Care Center as a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Kennewick. He has brought Holy Communion to congregation members too sick to come to church for more than a quarter century.
Brecke founded Allen Brecke Law Offices in 1983, and before that worked for two other law firms.