Reed Baldwin (contributed photo)

Reed Baldwin (contributed photo)

500 donors create scholarship in Jackson grad’s memory

His family wants to support students who share Reed Baldwin’s passions for music and robotics. He died at 22.

MILL CREEK — Reed Baldwin will be remembered for many things: his vibrant red hair, his musical skill and his knack for making sure other people felt included.

Since the Mill Creek resident died in a car crash April 1, the Baldwin family has learned a lot about how many people he touched. He was 22.

To help his memory live on, his family created a scholarship fund for Henry M. Jackson High School students who share his passions for music and robotics.

In less than a month, over 500 people have donated more than $55,000.

“We never imagined the incredible response we’d get — coworkers from over 20 years ago have donated, neighbors, friends, family, work friends, band mates, school mates … and so many kind strangers,” his mother, Connie Baldwin, wrote in an email. “They have all demonstrated care and compassion in the most generous and loving way.”

Baldwin, born July 21, 1998, graduated from high school in 2016. As a member of the school band and robotics team, he went out of his way to ensure others felt welcome, his family and friends said.

“A friend told us how he sat next to her, a fellow robotics team member on a long bus ride to a competition; she was feeling out of place as one of the only girls — he talked to her and made her feel welcome, and they became great friends,” his mother wrote. “Another friend said he would show up at their house with two pizzas, never expecting payment, ready to make people laugh.”

Reed Baldwin (contributed photo)

Reed Baldwin (contributed photo)

The Reed Baldwin Redfellowship — after his musical alias, “Redfellow” — will go to members of his alma mater’s band and the school’s Jack in the Bot Robotics Team. Students who apply will be asked to write about what they do to make others feel included. It will be awarded to recognize those who work hard to help others succeed, rather than focusing on their own spotlight.

Baldwin played alto saxophone, guitar and piano. He spent more than two hours in the band room every day — a space he considered a second home, according to his band teacher, Lesley Moffat.

Baldwin’s face lit up the moment he picked up a guitar, Moffat said.

“His personality really came through his playing,” she said. “He was the one who could bring a smile to people’s faces.”

The band teacher said Baldwin made her a better instructor. When rehearsals would get intense, she said, Baldwin kept her grounded by saying, “Let’s remember to have fun with the music.” He made band feel like a family, she said.

Baldwin was also a self-taught sound engineer who produced music for himself and others.

King Dawidalle, a local musician, said he met Baldwin in jazz band and became a close friend years later when they produced genre-bending hip-hop songs together. He said he will always remember Baldwin’s kind heart, focus and musical versatility.

Reed Baldwin (contributed photo)

Reed Baldwin (contributed photo)

“I hope people learn that there is never an excuse as to why you can’t do something,” Dawidalle said. “In memory of Reed, I pray that people carry on these characteristics in their own lives.”

Baldwin lived with depression. About a year ago, he reached out to his family for help — and that helped him immensely, his mother wrote. His family hopes his story will inspire others to do the same.

“It’s OK to need help finding answers,” his mother wrote. “None of us know how long we have on this planet; we deserve to feel great, and are worthy of saving.”

“Even though his life was cut short, we are so thankful Reed had this brief time of self-discovery and self-forgiveness,” she added. “As parents it was beautiful to see him blossom.”

The Baldwin family has been working with the Everett Public Schools Foundation with a goal that the first scholarships can be distributed this summer.

Right now, the fund can already support 20 years of scholarships.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; edennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen.

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