The news of Jamie Redford’s untimely death at age 58 is a reminder of how impermanent we each are in the universe, yet an equal reminder of the value and gifts we each bring to the world. Jamie brought many gifts to us and to the world through his documentary films, his love of nature, and his ties to family and friends.
I had the privilege to meet Jamie Redford. He visited Walla Walla in 2012 on the recommendation of Jane Stevens, ACEs Connection Founder. As Jane explained, Jamie had asked her to connect him with a community that was engaged in the work of moving the science of ACEs to action. At that point, the Community Resilience Initiative was deep in outreach to service providers, various business and health care sectors of the community, neighborhoods, and parents. Our goal was to create a community conversant in ACEs, brain science and resilience, and to embed the principles from this cluster of sciences into practice.
When I met Jamie, I could immediately feel his connection to people. You just looked at him and he twinkled that smile of his back to you. He instantly relaxed those in his presence, sending the message he was no more special than anyone else in the room. In fact, I first thought he was part of the camera crew, he was so unassuming and unpretentious. He never used his name as a privilege or as status.
He cared for people deeply, which was clear from how he talked to students, teachers, and the various partners I introduced him to while in Walla Walla to film the documentary. He had the knack of making whoever was in front of him feel valued and respected. He laughed easily and readily. He was a gentleman and yes, a bit of the rugged western cowboy image was conveyed in a soft and gentle way.
His work at Lincoln High School to capture the essence of trauma-informed care and resilience-building is of course legendary now, through his documentary Paper Tigers and its sequel, Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope. He told me: “Teri, I am naming the movie Resilience after seeing what your community is doing.” A huge honor coming from Jamie. He helped move the ACE and Resilience message nationally and globally through his gifts of film-making.
Jamie modeled what is important, both personally and professionally. He loved and was loved. I send our condolences to his family, his partners at KPJR, and to the many people he touched throughout his career. I admired him greatly.