On Sundays Judge Brown is a key man at Friendship Haven

His volunteer work has been recognized statewide

For more than a decade, Judge Brown has been helping residents of Friendship Haven get to church.

The Fort Dodge man doesn’t live at the retirement community. But a woman he knew through his own church lived there and a visit with her ultimately led to him being a fixture at Sunday services at Friendship Haven.

In a recent interview with The Messenger, Brown explained it this way: ”A lady that used to come to our church and help out was living there with her husband. I would visit her on Sundays, and she invited me to church. I noticed that as I was taking her down in her wheelchair to the service, there were a lot of residents who needed help. So it just became part of my life and a routine for me to be out there every Sunday. And the rest, as they say, is history.”

His Sunday routine was recognized statewide when Brown recently received the LeadingAge Iowa Volunteer of the Year Award.

He was nominated for the honor by Julie Thorson, president and chief executive officer of Friendship Haven; the Rev. Jennifer Owen, chaplain at Friendship Haven; and the residents there.

Helping at church, however, is just the latest in a long line of volunteer service commitments the North Carolina native has made to his adopted city and state.

He served for 10 years as a member of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women.

He was also picked by former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat, and former U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, a Republican, to interview young people being considered for nominations to the nation’s military academies.

If all that wasn’t enough, Brown also served on panels that interviewed prospective candidates for district court judge vacancies.

Brown came to Fort Dodge in 1977 to become a social studies teacher at Fort Dodge Senior High School. Positions at Fort Dodge Urban Ministry, the Iowa Department of Education and Iowa Central Community College followed.

We’re thankful that Judge Brown decided to start his teaching career here in Fort Dodge, and that he decided to stay here. His devotion to the community helps to make it a special place.