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Andrus Award Winner John Braasch: One of Washington’s Everyday Heroes

John Braasch

By Christina Clem, AARP Washington

In 2004, former submarine Command Master Chief John Braasch made it his mission to help homeless veterans living on the Olympic Peninsula. Fourteen years later, his non-profit, Voices for Veterans, has helped thousands of former service members connect with resources, community services, as well as provide a welcome, judgement free zone that embraces our brave soldiers.

His humanitarian vision produced the popular Stand Down events that offer veterans hot meals, medical and dental services, clothing, and legal aid.  Those that attend are also connected to VA benefits, housing assistance, employment services, haircuts and veterinary supplies for their pets.

John and his own service dog travel tirelessly around the peninsula coordinating with more than two dozen organizations to bring these Stand Downs to veterans near Port Angeles, Forks and Port Townsend. In addition to Stand Down events in May, July and October, the organization’s website has a list of resources that are available to local veterans and their families.

AARP Washington recognized John’s efforts with the Andrus Award for Community Service -- the Association’s most prestigious and visible state volunteer award for community service.  John is one of many everyday heroes dedicated to helping others. His remarkable service has greatly benefited veterans, inspired others to volunteer, and made a significant difference in the lives of others.

AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve. Do you or someone you know go above and beyond for your neighbors or community? Is there an AARP member in your community that deserves some recognition or a bit of the spotlight? We would love to hear your stories.

Feel free to reach contact the AARP Washington office at  Tell us a little bit about your story including your contact information. Your submission could be featured in an upcoming newsletter and our social media pages.

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