Kauai’s ‘Medi­care Man’ pub­lishes book on lessons learned from is­land liv­ing

The Garden Island - - Morning Briefing - Jes­sica Else

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- bbu­ley@the­gar­denis­land.com • 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.

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