Gene Kuhns at Ober Park doing his part to stop germs and keep the community connected (Kate Dowling Photo).

Gene Kuhns at Ober Park doing his part to stop germs and keep the community connected (Kate Dowling Photo).

The Bucket Brigade

Gene Kuhns serves the community

  • Thursday, March 19, 2020 2:17pm
  • News

On Saturday, March 14, Gene Kuhns, an islander for the last 12 years, organized a small group of volunteers via social media, to get out into the community and sanitize public spaces.

With buckets of hot soapy water, sanitizer and gloves, Ober Park was first on the list to wash down the playground.

“I believe in serving my community,” Kuhns said in an interview with The Beachcomber. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, Kuhns told The Beachcomber that the church promotes helping others and being of service.

Although gatherings of 50 or more people are now prohibited due to a mandate by Gov. Jay Inslee and social distancing encouraged in all public spaces, the virtual world is still managing to keep the community connected.

Kuhns recently posted a message on Facebook: “Any older people here on Vashon, not wanting to go out, if you are needing something, or someone to go shopping for you, please post below with what you need, and what part of the island you are on.”

Soon after, 83 community members (and counting) had responded with telephone numbers and offers to help.

There is an abundance of messages across social media platforms like Facebook, including the post started by Kuhns, connecting the community to places and people that may need assistance, like the Vashon Senior Center. But some — such as elderly community members — may not be social media savvy.

“A bazillion people are willing to help,” Kuhns said. “Now it’s about trying to find out who needs the help — some people are not on Facebook.”

The senior center has been busy answering calls and collecting the names of volunteers willing to lend a hand.

“We really appreciate the ongoing outreach from our local community,” wrote Pamela Wickard, a volunteer and program coordinator at the senior center.

For more information on how to help or if you need help, contact the senior center at 206-463-5173 or email them at

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