Interview with John Brown

by Laura Abruzzini, Vocational Committee

John Brown was born and raised in Eugene. He attended local schools and was drafted into the Army in 1969 where he served in Vietnam. John married Cathy Rodman in 1973, and they have two grown sons and four grandchildren, ranging from ages 2 to 16.

John is on the Board of the Eugene Police Foundation, a local non-profit that supports the Eugene Police in areas that normally don’t fall under their typical operating budget. One project they help support is the Community Cares Program, where the Foundation funds debit cards for officers to assist with an immediate need in their community such as paying for a can of gas, a meal, diapers for a child, or a motel voucher for a stranded family.

John also serves as Board President of Willamette Family Services, a local drug and alcohol treatment facility. They operate facilities such as the Buckley House, Carlton House (a men’s residential treatment facility) and the Women’s Center, where young mothers and women can come to get treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. One important feature of the women’s program is that they allow the mothers to have their children with them while in treatment, so the children don’t have to enter the foster care system. The facility has extensive childcare for the children while the mothers are attending recovery classes and various life skill classes such as money management. John has been a member of Southtowne for over 30 years and has participated in many projects, including building basketball courts and homes in Colima, constructing a water system in a remote village in Oaxaca State, and helping to build a habitat house.

John’s philosophy is that if you want something changed, you should make it happen by becoming directly involved. John has a passion for protecting local waterways, and he has been active for decades in cleaning up the messes left by riverbank camping. John also goes out on weekends to cover graffiti around town and prevent it from becoming too prevalent. Outside of his community involvement efforts, John’s favorite pastimes are spending time with his grandchildren and fishing every river, stream, and ocean he can find.