Sick kids to "hike, fish and raise a little hell" at Carnation site
After all these years, Butch Cassidy still ropes in the fans. Thursday morning, anxious drivers in luxury cars lined up for valet parking...
Seattle Times Eastside bureau
After all these years, Butch Cassidy still ropes in the fans.
Thursday morning, anxious drivers in luxury cars lined up for valet parking at Carnation Farm. It was past time to start, and people didn't want to miss the big draw — actor and activist Paul Newman. They jammed into a covered former horse arena at the historic farm.
And Newman didn't disappoint.
Dressed in khaki pants, a light-yellow sweater, sunglasses and a baseball cap, he wore his 82 years like 62. Fans later stood 10 deep around the stage, hoping to get a glimpse, a photo or an autograph.
After more than 50 movies, including the 1969 "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," the actor could be forgiven for sitting back and counting his awards. Instead, he still promotes one of his passions — the Hole in the Wall Gang camps he founded in 1988 so seriously ill kids can "hike, fish, and raise a little hell." The camps are named after the outlaw Cassidy gang associated with what may be his most beloved film role.
Newman was in Carnation on Thursday because the historic 818-acre Carnation Farm is slated to become Camp Korey, the latest addition to the international string of not-for-profit camps for seriously ill kids. Camp Korey will purchase the farm from Nestlé USA.
"If I leave a legacy, it's not film or politics," Newman said. "It's going to be these camps."
Newman was one of a half-dozen speakers to an audience that included mayors, county officials, the media, Carnation Farm workers, friends of the Camp Korey founders — and fans.
But for Tim Rose, Thursday was a chance to share the story behind Camp Korey. It's named after his son, Korey.
Rose, a Costco vice president who purchases food for the chain, had been working with Newman's nonprofit food company, Newman's Own, for years.
"One day they showed me a Hole in the Wall video and I knew right then I wanted to get involved with the organization," Rose said.
What Newman's Own representatives didn't know was that at the time, Korey had cancer.
When Korey Rose started his junior year of high school, he had everything a 16-year-old could want: a girlfriend, a pickup and a part-time job. Two months later he also had bone cancer.
He underwent chemotherapy and surgery, and graduated high school in 2004.
He died two months later.
Tim Rose has been working on Camp Korey ever since. In 2005, his board announced a tentative site near Redmond Ridge East. But it could have taken another six or seven years to pursue that property.
Camp Korey could begin operations in 2008.
Although King County Executive Ron Sims spoke at Thursday's gathering, getting the camp built at Carnation Farm isn't a done deal.
The land is in an agricultural zone, so amendments will be needed to allow it.
"We still have a lot of work to do," Rose said, "but we think that will take less than six months."
Rose, who lives in Auburn, said he fell in love with the farm when he attended a retreat there a year ago at the Nestlé Regional Training Center. He went back to his office and set up a meeting with Nestlé executives.
"I came away with an agreement to sell us the property," he said.
Rose declined to disclose the terms of the deal, saying they are still finishing the process. "Let's just say we got a bargain and that Nestlé was very generous," Rose said.
So was one member of the audience Thursday.
"A man I'd never met came up to me afterward and pledged $1 million," Rose said.
He said part of the agreement is to retain all 23 employees who now operate the farm. Although the last dairy cow was sold four years ago, the farm still grows hay and timber.
Some farm buildings date back to 1914. The Nestlé Company has used the camp as a regional training center since 1999. Before that, the Carnation Company raised prize livestock there for more than seven decades.
The company was founded by Elbridge Amos Stuart in 1912. (Bridge Stuart, a member of the founding family, is on the Camp Korey board.)
There are now seven Hole in the Wall Gang camps in the United States and several in other countries. The nearest one is in Southern California. Each camp staff includes a medical team. Last year more than 15,000 kids stayed at no charge at Hole in the Wall camps.
Camp Korey will serve children from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.
Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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