Vigo Anderson named Marrowstone’s Citizen of the Year

Posted 3/27/19

Marrowstone Island is not Vigo Anderson’s first home, but in the dozen years that he’s lived there, he’s adopted it with such vigor that his fellow Islanders named him the Marrowstone Island Citizen of the Year for 2018.

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Vigo Anderson named Marrowstone’s Citizen of the Year

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Marrowstone Island is not Vigo Anderson’s first home, but in the dozen years that he’s lived there, he’s adopted it with such vigor that his fellow Islanders named him the Marrowstone Island Citizen of the Year for 2018.

The Marrowstone Island Community Association announced Anderson’s selection during their March 18 meeting at the Nordland Garden Club, after the nominations submitted by Anderson’s 800 fellow Islanders were evaluated by a committee made up of former Citizens of the Year.

Rita Kepner is a selection committee member who was named Citizen of the Year in 1994 with her husband, John Matthiessen.

She explained that the criteria for selection are that the person selected must “have made a lasting or significant difference to the greater community through their volunteerism, activism and leadership.”

Anderson has lived on six-square-mile Marrowstone with his wife Paula since 2007, when he retired from working in Alaska. A first-generation American, Anderson was born in Anchorage to Swedish immigrant parents who’d become American citizens.

Anderson’s life prior to Marrowstone saw him hopscotching between Alaska and Washington, with a few detours to other parts of the world, as he earned a business degree at Washington State University in 1967, served in Vietnam for two years as a U.S. Marine Corps officer, and put in a quarter-century of work for Caterpillar dealers in both Washington and Alaska.

Anderson’s final stint for Caterpillar was preceded by a six-year period of ocean sailing with his wife, during which they visited more than 30 countries.

“I have lived in a number of beautiful places,” Anderson said. “Moving to Marrowstone was not the first time I had a lovely home with a great view.”

Anderson nonetheless invested himself in his new home. Kepner credits him with starting to volunteer and participate in the community in a number of capacities shortly after his arrival.

Anderson joined both the Marrowstone Island Community Association and the Friends of Fort Flagler, the latter of which helps state park personnel make improvements to their parks and organize events “of interest to all.”

Kepner elaborated that the Friends of Fort Flagler have replaced and “significantly upgraded” four footpath bridges in the park, with Anderson leading the group for the past two years.

Kepner also deemed Anderson “instrumental” in the purchase and installation of a new visual projection system and audio microphones for the Nordland Garden Club.

“This has been of great value to the Marrowstone Island Community Association and other organizations who meet there,” Kepner said.

Among Anderson’s other cited contributions have been helping with the restoration of the deteriorating “Welcome to Marrowstone” sign at the Island’s entrance, serving as both president and vice president of the Marrowstone Island Community Association, and assisting in updating the group’s bylaws.

Kepner pointed out that Anderson has also helped numerous Island residents when they needed assistance with special projects, such as helping remove unwanted trees, keeping a lawn mower running, driving people to doctor’s appointments in Seattle, and providing an emergency generator set-up for use by elderly residents.

“He also recognizes that, when medical situations arise, there might be a need for help with a myriad of tasks, and he’s always there to volunteer his services,” Kepner said. “Vigo is a very valuable asset to the Island, and all can count on him to be there whenever help is needed.”

Anderson expressed his appreciation and surprise at being named Citizen of the Year, an honor he did not expect. He was quick to share credit for his work with his fellow Islanders, “who also work to make our beautiful Island a wonderful place to live.”

Anderson said of Marrowstone, “I have a feeling of a sense of real community here. In other places, I didn’t know my neighbors and they didn’t know me. Here, I feel a sense of community, of the compassion of my neighbors for each other. Here, people want to make their world a little better, and so many are willing to spend time helping each other.”

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