Josh Bidwell, the former NFL Pro Bowler, University of Oregon kicker and Douglas High School standout, continues to pour into others. The Josh Bidwell Foundation hosted its 12th annual celebrity golf classic as Roseburg Country Club last Saturday. An assortment of local Oregon State and Oregon football players showed up for the event to support the foundation by playing alongside participants. Proceeds from the event go to a local community cancer center, local high school sports programs and faith ministries.
Former players like Alexis Serna, Olympian Devon Allen and Basketball Hall of Famer Darrall Imhoff took part in the tournament. Imhoff once played with the Portland Trail Blazers and won an Olympic gold medal with Team USA in 1960 and also hit the game-winning shot in the 1959 NCAA title game to propel California to the NCAA championship.
Bidwell grew up in Tenmile, Oregon where he later attended Douglas High School. Josh was a standout athlete playing football, basketball and baseball and garnered attention from the U of O football team during his time at Douglas. He would go on to accept an athletic scholarship to play for the Oregon Ducks football team as a punter. After four years at Oregon, he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1999. In the preseason of that year, Bidwell won the starting job as the punter, only to find out a few days later he had testicular cancer and would have to undergo emergency surgery.
After several months of treatment and chemotherapy, Bidwell defeated cancer and overcame the odds against him. He returned to the Packers in 2000, winning back his job and later becoming a Pro Bowl punter in 2005 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In that 2006 Pro Bowl, Bidwell was joined by another Douglas graduate, Troy Polamalu, who also grew up in Tenmile. Josh ended up playing 11 seasons in the NFL. He accomplished his dream of becoming an NFL player.
Bidwell, who orchestrates the event and brings the community and celebrities together, talked about the impact this event has had over the years.
“12 years ago we had a vision to do what we’re doing right now, to raise money but to also inspire a community,” Bidwell said. “This is a great community, the people here investing in each other’s lives and investing in the youth. All we needed to do is keep that going but take it a step further which we’ve done.”
Bidwell is in his third year as the chaplain for the University of Oregon football team.
“It ties into my heart, my life’s mission is to inspire and help people grow closer to the Lord,” Bidwell added. “To help people be inspired in their life enough to pay it forward. I love these kids and this coaching staff. They know that I don’t need a thing from them. I want them to have what I have which is the peace of the Lord in my heart and dreams that I had the courage to chase down.”
Bidwell is continuing to try and give back and inspire kids to reach for their own success just like others in the community supported him to chase his dreams after overcoming cancer.
“A great quote I got from Coach (Willie) Taggart the other day from his mentor, if people aren’t laughing at your dreams there probably not big enough,” Bidwell said. “I thought that really summed up the majority of the successful people in our area and the celebrities here. We all ended up doing something that the stats said we had no business doing and for me I want to give these kids every opportunity to succeed but also have no regrets. Because you won’t know how far you go until you’re willing to work as hard as you can until you get there, then you have no regrets no matter the results.”