Herb and Shirley Bridge have been selected to receive one of the Seattle region’s most prestigious honors: the E. Donnall Thomas Medal of Achievement. Each year, the Fred Hutchinson Business Alliance, a group of regional business leaders united in the fight against cancer, bestows the award on local business leaders who dedicate their lives to excellence.
The couple will receive their award in June at one of the Northwest’s premier fund-raising events, the E. Donnall Thomas Medal of Achievement Dinner, a black-tie gala that has raised $8.6 million for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center during the past seven years.
Herb Bridge is co-chairman of Ben Bridge Jeweler, a 91-year-old business with 71 retail locations in 11 states. In 2000, Ben Bridge Jeweler merged into Berkshire Hathaway Inc., becoming part of one of the nation’s most respected business organizations.
Affectionately known as “Mr. Downtown,” Bridge has received many distinctive honors for his community and business accomplishments, including induction in the National Jeweler’s Hall of Fame and the 2001 Seattle-King County First Citizen Award. His involvement and leadership have included dozens of causes, including the co-chairmanship with his son of the 2000 United Way campaign, which raised more than $93 million. He also has championed housing for low-income people and has taught Sunday school. One of the region’s more colorful community leaders, the 77-year-old Bridge still rides his Harley-Davidson motorcycle with a group of Seattle businessmen known as the “Hell’s Rotarians.”
A former senior admiral in the U.S. Naval Reserves, Bridge served in World War II and the Korean War and was an active reservist for more than four decades. He received two Legion of Merit awards and the Naval Unit Commendation. He also serves on the Naval Academy Foundation and the American Legion Foundation, and is chairman of the Puget Sound USO.
Shirley Bridge, one of the state’s first female registered pharmacists, practiced full time until 1982. She is a founding board member of AIDS Housing of Washington and an active community leader who has worked on women’s and children’s issues, health care, and human rights. She served as the second president of the Seattle Women’s Commission. She has served on the boards of numerous health-care organizations and has been a volunteer with Hadassah, the League of Women Voters and Swedish Hospital. In 1992 she received the Dorothy Bullitt Woman of Achievement Award from the Women’s Funding Alliance.
The Bridges have shared many joint honors as well, including the 1995 A.K. Guy Award from the YMCA of Greater Seattle for exemplary volunteerism, and the Museum of History and Industry’s 1993 Seattle Heritage Award.
As testimony to their philosophy of sharing with others, when the Bridges celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, they opted against a big bash and instead sent $50 checks to more than 300 friends, asking that they send them on to their favorite charities.
Married for 55 years, the Bridges, both natives of Seattle and graduates of the University of Washington, raised two sons and have four grandchildren.
Named for Fred Hutchinson’s Dr. E. Donnall Thomas—director emeritus of the center’s Clinical Research-Division who in 1990 won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation—the Thomas Medal honors those whose careers symbolize the inspiration, vision and leadership for which Thomas is renowned.
This year’s Thomas Medal dinner will be held June 14 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle. For more information about the dinner or the award, please contact Kit Herrod at (206) 667-5543 or visit www.fhcrc.org..
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home of two Nobel Prize laureates, is an independent, nonprofit research institution dedicated to the development and advancement of biomedical technology to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. Fred Hutchinson receives more funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other independent U.S. research center. Recognized internationally for its pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation, the center’s four scientific divisions collaborate to form a unique environment for conducting basic and applied science. Fred Hutchinson, in collaboration with its clinical partners, the University of Washington Academic Medical Center and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Pacific Northwest and is one of 41 nationwide.