Blog Details

Russ Blewett was Among the High Desert's Greatest Leaders Ever

Published June 18th, 2018

During the 30 years that I have been a resident and a businessman within the High Desert region, I have met, worked with, coerced, discussed, and challenged, many of our current and former High Desert leaders.

As we pay our respects to a leader like Mr. Russ Blewett, we always seem to recognize the enormous accomplishments of the individual and promise ourselves that his or her example will help change our lives for the better.

Today, we take measure of this man’s countless accomplishments and have an opportunity to reflect on the great things that Mr. Blewett taught us, in making the High Desert a better place to live, work and play.

In the mid-990′s I served with Mr. Blewett on the Executive Leadership Team of the Building Industry Association Baldy View Chapter. This organization is a part of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the California Building Industry Association Industries (CBIA), and the Building Industry Association of Southern California (BIASC). Mr. Blewett served as president of the organization, having been preceded by some incredible individuals. You had to be a true leader to be considered to be president of the Building Industry Association Baldy View Chapter.

During the nearly 25 years that I really knew Mr. Blewett, we agreed on many business and political issues, and we disagreed on a few. He had his views, I had my views. What I always found when I listened to what Mr. Blewett had to say (even when we disagreed), is that I would learn something. While he was never short of an opinion, he was absolutely committed, he was passionate, he wanted to hear other points of view, but he never wavered from his convictions, nor his final decisions.

One thing for certain, a conversation with Russ Blewitt required you to be at the “top of your game”.

When we lose people like Mr. Blewett, we lose not only leaders and history, but also the convictions that had been at the center of many of the issues during the past three decades. From the closing of George Air Force Base to the creation of economic development initiatives to the Regional Waste Water Plant, to crime, unemployment, or high welfare rates, you name it, whatever you needed to count on somebody to participate, attend, be active, or voice their concerns, you could absolutely count on Mr. Blewett.

That was the respect that I had for Mr. Blewett and I think that is why so many people in the High Desert had such high respect for him. And Mr. Blewett gave respect in return. He had high expectations, everyone could make themselves better individuals and better leaders.

So, in tribute to Russ (I regret being out of the area on the day of his memorial), I want to thank you for what you taught me, and I want to thank you for your convictions. I want to thank you for the many conversations that we had, whether we agreed or disagreed.

I want to thank you for always making the City of Hesperia your top concern and I want to thank you for always being committed to the betterment of the rest of the High Desert, recognizing that whatever happened in one city had an impact on all of the others.

I want to thank you for not being selfish and for always being there at any time and any place when someone needed to hear a strong opinion. Thank you for not being afraid of giving strong opinions; thank you for listening and not being afraid of individuals with strong opinions.

Quite candidly, I enjoy strong and passionate people because they make great leaders. Mr. Russ Blewitt was one of many greatest leaders to ever live, work, or play in the High Desert region.

Farewell, Russ, until we see each other again.

Joseph W. Brady is president of the Bradco Companies and a member of the Victor Valley College Board of Trustees.