A tribute to “The Most Interesting Man in Maine”
I’m a big fan of the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” ad campaign where a rugged older gentleman does everything from launch himself out of a moving airplane in a kayak to shooing a mountain lion off his kitchen countertop. For just over a year, I had the privilege of being Facebook friends with Brad Bradstreet, a retired IT professional, real estate agent, ultra-active volunteer, world traveler, photographer and devoted family man from Maine. While I’m quite sure Brad never jumped out of a plane in a kayak, he was a truly fascinating man nevertheless. In the short time I knew him, Brad singlehandedly transformed my Facebook newsfeed into a daily broadcast of adventurous updates and stunning photos taken throughout the northeast and around the world.
In 2011 alone, Brad toured England…
As a trustee with the Mount Washington Observatory, Brad thought nothing of driving from Maine to New Jersey to New Hampshire and back to Maine to attend two MWOBS-events in a single day. In 2011, Brad volunteered with Wreaths Across America, spent a week cooking for the staff at the observatory and participated in the Seek the Peak Hike-a-thon, just as he had every year since 2007 – winning the coveted one-year lease of a Subaru Outback for being a top fundraiser in 2010.
Sadly, Brad passed away in April and while his presence will be dearly missed at this year’s Seek the Peak event, his passion for Mount Washington and the Observatory will live on in what his sure to be the largest single donation in the history of the event. As Brad’s son Bill explains:
“One of Dad’s final wishes was for people to donate to MWO and Camps Newfound-Owatonna instead of sending flowers. The outpouring has been remarkable. Right now, he is sitting at just over $6,000. He would be happy to know that he WILL hit the goal I set in April — $6,288 (the height of Mount Washington). There’s less than $200 to go for us to reach it and I know of a few people who still plan on donating in his name.”
I asked Bill why Mount Washington was so special to his dad and why Brad was such a passionate advocate for not only the mountain but the Observatory as well:
“It is hard to say what drew him to Mount Washington. I think it was the weather. My guess is he loved the mountain — everything about the mountain. Like with those he encountered in life, he expressed unconditional love. He never judged or excluded people. Mount Washington was his friend. Any day interacting with Mount Washington was a good day.”
“Since my father was a member of MWO, I remember many visits to the top where we would tour the observatory. I remember many times eating chili or American Chop Suey.”
“As a child, I always enjoyed watching the ‘Breakfast of Champions’ video that shows what The World’s Worst Weather is all about.”
“As an adult, I focus more on how my father would describe the observatory to friends and family. It is a place where people watch the weather. They don’t politicize it. Facts are facts. He would tell me that we needed to protect an organization that gathers such critical data about our planet. The observatory is in a unique location. Other organizations might have just as worthy a cause, but they aren’t located at the top of a mountain where the world’s worst weather is experienced.”
Obviously, Brad’s affection ran extremely deep for both Mount Washington and the Observatory. As MWOBS Executive Director Scot Henley explains, the feeling was mutual: “Brad was an incredible ambassador for the Observatory. A member of 16 years, he served many times as a volunteer at our summit weather station, and in 2010 we were honored to name him to our Board of Trustees. He has been one of our top fundraisers at Seek the Peak every year since he first joined the event in 2007, attracting many new recruits and forming one of the most hard-working and fun-loving teams, ‘The Kilted Clan.’ Brad was a tireless advocate for the Observatory, sharing his love for this organization with everyone he met. We are proud to have had him among our ranks.”
While Brad was a very rare individual, you too, can experience his profound passion and enthusiasm by summiting his favorite mountain. The unpredictable weather makes it a challenge any time of year, and if you happen to be there on one of the rare clear days, you’ll be rewarded with the most majestic view in New England. Whether you love to hike, appreciate extreme weather or are just looking to have a great day filled with cool prizes, awesome food and fun people, I hope Brad’s story inspires you to participate in or support Seek the Peak.
I guarantee you’ll have a fantastic experience and I can’t think of a better tribute to “The Most Interesting Man in Maine.”