There are times we need to give back to those who given us, our community, so much. As many of us know, Neil Colburn and Candy Culver have come upon difficult times. Let's pull together as a community and return the favor.
Some Background. Neil joined the Navy at age 17 and served two tours in Vietnam, while serving, both of his parents died. He is a disabled Veteran of that war. After serving Neil moved to Berkeley, working to end the war that he served in,
In June 1976, after living in the Redwoods in Northern California, Neil moved to Whidbey with fellow Vietnam Vet, Jack Noel, a relative of the Chainsaw art clan the McVays. Neil spent that first summer living in a Teepee behind the McVay Farm on Maxwellton. After buying a portable Sawmill Jack, Neil and friends started Shelterwood Foresteries, clearing house sites and driveways and cutting the trees into lumber the owner used to build their homes. It was as foresters that Shelterwood received an "invitation to bid" on a clear cut of what we considered the last stand of old growth on South Whidbey. They went public with the issue forming Save the Trees to ask questions, and later to sue and win. That parcel is called "Classic U" and is now part of the South Whidbey State Park.
Several of the group received the Giraffe Award, for their work with Save the Trees. Working against their own self-interest for the betterment of all is something Neil is still proud.
Neil and Candy met at the Doghouse in about 1978 and have now been married for 39 years. In 1983 Neil, Candy and their one year old son Will, moved to Langley and bought the Clover Patch Cafe in Bayview.
Focused on locals, Neil and Candy soon learned what locals want and they did their best to introduce new foods and dishes to their customers. For nearly 40 years, they hired and trained hundreds of teens, offering many their first job experiences. They also promoted many to jobs as Prep-cooks, Cooks and wait people. They are quite proud that their average length of stay for employees with 13 years – far over the national average of 11 months.
In 1989 Neil was appointed to City Council. He served in this position for 15 years, until elected Mayor in 2004-08. Neil also served on most South Whidbey Schools Levy and Bond Issues though the 90's.
In 2014 Neil's health issues, two heart attacks and arthritic knees kept him from working kitchen shifts and the struggles began. Bills mounted. But they continued to support the restaurant and staff. They sold his life insurance, IRA's, used up savings and mortgaged their home to make payroll and keep the doors open. The last five years have been filled with medical scares, worry about employees and personal financial distress.
After giving so much, they are now at risk of losing their home. Neil and Candy have given their everything for us, the community they love and served their entire adult lives. Let’s all wrap our arms around them and help them in their time of need.
Please give what you can for this lovely couple. All funds raised will be spent on paying down local business debt and attorney fees.