by Michele Cato, ISR Executive Director

We could not do our work nor meet the critical needs of our clients without incredible volunteers like Sarah.

Sarah’s parents purchased a cabin on Saratoga Passage on Camano in the early 1960s, and Sarah has been visiting ever since. When her folks retired and decided to ‘age in place’ in their cabin, Sarah began the frequent weekend treks from her job and family in the Seattle area to help them as they aged, ultimately assuming a part-time caregiver role for her mom. In 2018, her partner moved to Camano Island, while Sarah continued her work with the City of Redmond. Unfortunately, Sarah took on heavy caregiver responsibilities when her partner was diagnosed with terminal cancer, leading to Sarah’s permanent move to Camano in 2021.

Sarah is a proud grandma of four cats and her amazing 2-year-old grandson. She has an adult daughter and son living in the Seattle area with their spouses. Sarah enjoys reading, walking, kayaking, spending time with family, playing Mahjong with friends, and baking fruit tarts and cookies to share. She also enjoys walks and is no stranger to Whidbey Island, with Deception Pass being a favorite destination.

With a Master’s in Urban Planning (BA in Social Welfare) from the University of Washington, Sarah has had a successful career in community development and land-use planning. Having now had time to reassess after retirement, the death of her partner, and helping her sister and brother-in-law move into assisted living, Sarah seeks to “build community by helping the community.” She has the capacity, passion, and time now to pay it forward and has chosen to do so by joining ISR’s Board of Directors. She believes everyone needs to know about ISR’s services and avail themselves of them as they (or their loved ones) age. “Aging and caregiving are part of our lives.”

Our rural island culture offers an abundance of caring, compassionate people who find room in their hearts and lives to support the many organizations in need of volunteers across Island County. ISR is grateful for its 250 active volunteers working 15,000 hours annually to provide medical transportation, deliver Meals on Wheels, process Thrift Store donations, counsel Medicare clients, manage the Medical Equipment Library, and serve as advisors and Board members, all in support of our community. If you would like to volunteer to support seniors and adults with disabilities, please check out the volunteer section of our website at or call 360-321-1600.