Beno Kennedy lives according to a simple philosophy: “I feel like if you take care of what’s in front of you, close by, then by extension you’re helping to take care of the world.” He joined the Whidbey Institute this spring as a member of our Facilities Team, serving as a handyman/go-to-guy with extensive skills, a creative outlook, and a contagious attitude of honesty, service, and dedication.
Beno’s career began with house painting, then light construction. Throughout his life, he’s been an artist, and some of his work can be viewed at www.benoart.com. Beno grew up in the Hudson River Valley, and jokes, “you can take the boy out of New York but you can’t take New York out of the boy!” He’s also travelled extensively, and tells of long hikes, wilderness adventures, and sticky situations from which he narrowly escaped. These experiences were educational, it seems—”I appreciate people much more than I did in my youth,” he said, “and I appreciate every day.” This attitude no doubt contributes to the palpable warm-hearted integrity which he exudes today.
Beno’s connection to this place extends back long before he joined our staff. “I came to Whidbey in 1981,” he said, “and I’ve been an occasional volunteer at the Institute. When Kim Hoelting built the Sanctuary, I was on that team.” Beno said that as a part of the team he had a hand in plastering, flooring, painting, roofing, and finishing the building!
I take after my dad,” he said, “in that he was philosophical. When I play sports, I’m competitive!” Beno said that in addition to work carving, his current favorite artistic endeavor, he enjoys tennis, hiking, and getting away for a week or two in the wilderness each year.
As for being here at Chinook, he describes his role as an opportunity to care for the physical plane and, by extension, the planet.