John Browne is running for unofficial mayor on behalf of the Vashon Senior Center. Browne, a musician, farmer and local icon, is definitely what we call a “heck of a senior.” Tie die to overalls, guitar to washboard, chainsaw to native plants—John embodies the active life of an older adult and makes the livin’ look easy.
When asked why he wants to make a run for unofficial mayor, Browne replied with a twinkle in his eye, “I’m old, but I’m slow.” John is anything but slow. He owns and manages Judd Creek Nursery with his wife, Vicki, plays in a band with gigs from Vashon to Portland, and is a regular fixture at the Vashon Farmer’s Market. Browne, a Seattle native and a long-time Vashon resident, plays guitar, harmonica, and the washboard. He started his musical career in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district in the mid-1960s, then lived off the grid on the Oregon Coast, raised a family, and started a garden before returning to Washington State. He’s been a bus driver, a logger, and a commercial fisherman, and for many years helped run Wax Orchard farm. Definitely a life well lived.
Browne said being unofficial mayor was on his bucket list. “I promised myself I’d run for something; seems like time.” Vashon’s demographics also played a role in his decision to throw his hat in the ring. Brown believes it’s important to remind people that Vashon has a history, a past—no matter your age or how long you’ve lived here. “When you get familiar with a place, age doesn’t matter; inclusion does. The Vashon Senior Center has a focus, and that focus is that no one is excluded.”
When asked why he wants to raise money for the Center, Brown thoughtfully replied that to stay in his home as long as possible is what he wants down the road. The programs and support the Center gives to seniors to help them stay active and independent is personal. “There’s never enough money for the many good programs on Vashon and the good things people want to do. I want to help.”
Susie Kalhorn, President of the Senior Center Board of Directors, led the push to recruit Browne. “John encapsulates so much of what I think of as “old” Vashon. He lives modestly and close to the land. He values nature, music and human relationships. He lives thoughtfully with a good dose of humor. He’s a senior worth emulating.” A vote for John is a donation to support our mission of enhancing the experience of being an older adult on Vashon. Our membership has grown significantly over the past three years, yet our funding has gone
down despite an increased need for senior services. Seniors at the Center are technically anyone 55 years or older, but our doors are open to the whole community. The Vashon Senior Center has been serving older adults on Vashon since 1980 and continues to have an active and supportive presence in the community. Our senior-focused programming includes:
*A nutrition program that provides hot, home cooked lunch four days per week, transportation to and from lunch for isolated adults three days each week, and houses the Meals on Wheels program.
*An array of health promotion, wellness, and fitness exercise classes such as Zumba, guided meditation, and tai chi; chair massages and a low-vision support groups.
* Education, recreation, socialization and personal growth-focused.
* Social Services to connect individuals to aging network and other benefits by bringing in experts in relevant topics such as Medicare enrollment, estate planning, and the Community Van Program.
* Help for older adults to age in place with support from Neighbor to Neighbor volunteers who assist seniors with household chores, transportation, and errands.
* BlueBird Medical Transport to drive seniors to off-island medical appointments.
The Vashon Senior Center also has fun! We have art classes, lectures, a book club, discussion groups, bridge and mahjongg. We go to museums, casinos, the local marijuana dispensary, and show entertaining movies several times each month. Talent shows, Rainbow BINGO, and our annual picnic are always well attended and lively.
We are thrilled to have Vashon icon, John Browne, as our candidate for unofficial mayor of Vashon. Vote early, often, and generously. Stop by