July 23, 2019

Even after 20-plus years of watching Thriftway’s drill team execute their carefully choreographed cart twirls and cheering on the Old Tractor Society, I’m still moved by the Vashon Strawberry Festival. Maybe that’s exactly why; it’s full of the people who make this island the vibrant, caring community it is. They’re out in droves during festival, marching for their beloved causes and manning booths for hours in the scorching sun. This passionate can-do spirit is woven into the fabric of Vashon Community Care.

Here’s how festival played out for us this year: As usual, Bettie Edwards was behind the scenes, adding that special Little House touch to the trishaw that Steve Sussman has been working tirelessly to procure for island seniors through a grant from Cycling Without Age (I highly recommend the Ted Talk  featured on their website). The trishaw’s inaugural ride with our king and queen–Tom Johnson and Polly Boyajian–was a thrill for everyone involved. Community members paid their respects to the king and queen, as Josie Cadman and Julia Montagnet, two of our most frequent volunteers, accompanied them, handing out strawberries to the crowd.

The biggest draw, however, was Goliath, the 170-pound therapy Newfoundland who was running (with the help of his owner David Fuller) for a second term as Unofficial Mayor. Goliath, who visits residents twice a week, drew children in hordes, as well as more than $3100 in donations for cultural outings, including art classes, theater and museum tickets, and special day trips.

I end with a photo of me with Vicki and Ted Clabaugh because–while they were marching for Island healthcare this time–the innumerable hours and deep love they have devoted to VCC over the past 20 years exemplifies what makes Vashon so remarkable.

On August 30th, we will honor these people and others who give their time, creativity and attention to VCC’s residents and welcome people who would like to volunteer. Our celebrated chef, Bernard Moises, is working with Vashon Land Trust’s Matsuda Farm and other local growers to create a fabulous farm-to-table meal. Please RSVP to me or Sheri Konvalin by August 23rd if you’d like to come.

Also, on August 26th we’re hosting a therapy dog show. We’re expecting some of our favorites to compete, but we’d love to some new pups to join the crew. Please RSVP to Sheri by August 23rd if you have a pooch in mind.

With gratitude for our residents and this community,


Anne Atwell is the community relations and development director at VCC. A Vashonite for 20 years, Anne is proud to say that her first non-profit volunteer board experience was on that of the Vashon Community Care Center way back in the late 90’s. She is so pleased to be coming full circle to work again for VCC and its wonderful residents.