NORDLAND — Volunteer Vigo Anderson is the 2018 Marrowstone Island Citizen of the Year.
Anderson was honored at a ceremony at the Nordland Garden Club on Monday. About 65 people attended.
Anderson was recognized for his volunteer work with the Marrowstone Island Community Association (MICA) and Friends of Fort Flagler for which he helped rebuild footpath bridges in the park. In addition, he also has helped numerous island residents with assistance for special projects, such as removing unwanted trees, driving people to appointments in Seattle, and providing an emergency generator for use by elderly residents.
Rita Kepner, selection committee member, who with her husband John Matthiesen was awarded the honor in 1994, said that Anderson encompasses the spirit of the award.
“He’s such a gentle human being, very compassionate, quiet and caring, with a supportive wife, Paula,” Kepner said.
The selection of the recipient by MICA is kept a secret and revealed only at the meeting. Kepner said nominations are put in a locked box in the Nordland store in back by the wood stove. All previous winners gather together to open the box and make a selection.
Anderson was not expecting the honor.
“I’m surprised, and it’s kind of embarrassing,” Anderson said. “I don’t mind being an advocate and I’m compassionate toward my neighbors.”
Kepner said a dozen island residents were considered this year. The program has been part of the community since the 1980s.
“The nominations are beautifully thoughtful and a joy to read,” Kepner said. “The hardest part is choosing one.”
Anderson is a first-generation American. He was born in Anchorage, Alaska, to parents who were naturalized citizens from Sweden.
He graduated from Washington State University in 1967 with a bachelor’s in general business. Following graduation, he went to Officer Candidate School, and served in the Marine Corps.
After serving in Vietnam for two years, he worked for Caterpillar dealers in both Washington and Alaska. After almost 25 years there, he and his wife, Paula, set out ocean sailing for six years.
They visited more than 30 countries. Upon their return to the U.S., he again worked for Caterpillar, this time in Alaska only. He retired in 2007 and moved to Marrowstone Island.
One of Anderson’s favorite achievements affects many people.
He helped to get a screen and projector for the Nordland Garden Club, where MICA conducts its meetings.
The club has owned the building since the 1930s.
“I recommended that we work with the club and get a projector and screen so people are able to presentations and talk to PowerPoint slides,” Anderson said.
“Once we got it up and all wired in, it works really well. Almost every meeting since, it’s been used and the meeting attendance is much better. It provides much more of a visual impact and everyone that has seen it likes it.”
Anderson said he’s humbled by the award.
“It’s nice when your peers recognize you,” Anderson said. It’s nice to be in the company of those selected and it means a lot.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]