Kauai’s ‘Medicare Man’ publishes book on lessons learned from island living
LIHUE — Jason Blake is known around Kauai for being the Medicare Man. Every fall when Medicare open enrollment comes back around, he can be found at Walmart volunteering.
When the independent insurance agent isn’t saving people money on their medical bills, he spends his time on the board of Kauai Concert Association and heads Malama Pono’s Kauai Sings fundraiser.
And throughout the 12 years he’s lived and volunteered on the island, he’s raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars for Malama Pono. He has saved a substantial amount of money for Kauai’s kupuna, and he’s been writing.
“10 Things I Learned Living on an Island” was released in July and is Blake’s first book. In its 100 pages is the inspirational story of Blake’s stint on the Garden Isle.
The book’s message is a way to export aloha throughout the world.
In between meetings with distributors, Blake sat down with TGI to talk about life on Kauai and how it inspired the leap to becoming a published author. “
I’ve journaled for a long time and this idea kind of started popping up in my journaling maybe around a year ago. I stuck with it, and one chapter at a time I did a whole rough draft and put it in a drawer and forgot about it. It kept nudging me, so I guess, now this is it.
I moved here from Chicago so I’m an import. But I like to say that I’m as local as a haole can get here, not growing up here. We read the paper and know the challenges here, we know the local politics and the expensive milk and stuff like that.
But there’s something really special about living here. I loved Chicago, but living here there’s a different way we get along. Even when we fight, we fight more politely than some of the political stuff you’re seeing on the Mainland now.
One story is about Iniki. Even not having been here for it, you can tell the impact that Iniki had on this community. Who stayed? What were things like? That story is about how neighbors took care of each other.
That kind of thing is combined with the uniqueness of all the different cultures here — from the generosity of the Filipino people to the respectfulness of the Japanese. Lots of neat things pull us together in a nice way.
If there’s some message for the book, it’s about exporting aloha. It draws the parallel between an island community and the world. It dumbs it down.
Here’s this planet, and we’re surrounded by space. There’s a bunch of cultures, socioeconomic status and stuff like that. We have to learn to get along if we’re going to survive.
Guess what? That kind of happens on this island, and these are some of the things that we do that make that work. Imagine if we tried that on a larger scale.
At the end of the day, people here, even if you don’t get along, you still make nice and there’s this sense of we’re all in it together.
We don’t have everything per- firstname.lastname@example.org • 245-0457 fect, we still have Kapaa traffic and things like that. But even if people can’t live here, if they can learn to just chill a little.
If there’s any insecurities about this book, it’s that it’s too simple, but maybe that’s what we need now.
We need to go back to basics on some certain things so that society can work, I would hope.
Maybe this will inspire at least one other person.
I have a few things rolling around but it has to percolate. If I go back to anything, it’s that series “The Artist’s Way” and what she says about waiting for your marching orders. For me I get my marching orders while journaling. So I wait on my marching orders that say “This is your next thing,” like this book — it started to hound me after a while.
We started vacationing here and got addicted to it. That story is in the book and I won’t ruin it totally, but my spouse and I, we were a honeymoon couple on our first vacation. It was 2001 and we had two places we wanted to go, Egypt and Hawaii. That was just after Sept. 11
Jason Blake is known as the Medicare Man for helping Kauai’s kupuna learn how to save money.