Sunrise Ridge, an epicenter of Island services, seeks support

When I arrived at Sunrise Ridge the other evening for a meeting at the conference room, I was greeted by the “thwack” of baseballs being hit by little bats and the usual encouragement voiced by families and friends out to support the kids.

It was a wonderful early-summer evening, the parking area was full, and everyone was having a great time. The Shetlands and the Pintos were hard at it. A real all-American scene.

The Vashon Maury Community Food Bank was closed up tight, with sort of a porch light by their door. Big activity would begin there tomorrow, when a devoted group of Vashon volunteers would prepare to distribute groceries to some of the 1,000 Islanders who require help feeding their families during hard times.

I could look south across the emergency helicopter pad and see lights on at the health clinic. There was a car parked by its door — probably one of the doctors working late on the eternal paperwork, or maybe waiting for the patient in need of emergency after-hours medical help.

Granny’s Attic was closed up for the night, resting after the usual rush of receiving donations, sorting, cleaning and arranging for the next open day. Did you know that Granny’s is one of the busiest places on Vashon? It’s another nonprofit on Sunrise Ridge, donating exclusively to Island health-related nonprofit organizations. All was quiet at Granny’s tonight.

The gathering in the conference room broke up a little after 9 p.m. The baseball diamond was deserted as I left, but there was still a light on at the Voice of Vashon and someone at work at the Island’s radio station. In a major disaster, we would depend on them so much, and yet they take up so little space at Sunrise Ridge.

It’s hard to imagine that years ago this property, now devoted to peaceful service, was once a Nike missile site dedicated to military defense.

When the Pentagon’s “weapon of choice” went out of style on Sunrise Ridge, a small group of forward-looking Islanders made a deal with the government: Vashon would use the Sunrise Ridge property to support a clinic and other health-related organizations, do it well for 30 years and look forward to assuming ownership if they did everything exactly as required. Our Island kept its bargain.

The Sunrise Ridge Board received title to this wonderful piece of property in September 2007.

This 17-acre parcel at Sunrise Ridge continues to provide sites for nonprofit organizations that exist simply to serve all of us. A board made up of Island residents administers the property, newly renamed “Sunrise Ridge Health Services,” which maintains the property and its buildings.

Nobody makes money from rent at Sunrise Ridge; in fact, all rents received from the organizations utilizing services there don’t cover badly needed maintenance and improvements. The clinic building needs a new heat pump this year, and summer is closing in fast. Paint and paving needs abound all over the property.

Quiet at night, Sunrise Ridge is a very busy place during the day. If you haven’t visited before, drop in at Granny’s Attic on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. You will be amazed. I guarantee you will discover at least one item, probably donated by a fellow Islander, that you can’t live without.

— Margaret Mackey is the outreach chair at Sunrise Ridge Health Services.

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