50 over 50

Philip Johnson recognized as an “Isolation buster”


The American Association of Retired People (AARP) annually selects 50 individuals, all over 50 years old, to be recognized for their volunteering contributions. This year a U.S. Men’s Shed Member was selected for his work as an “Isolation Buster.”

Sixty-nine-year-old USMS Director Philip Johnson of Wayzata MN is a national volunteer organizer for the U.S. Men’s Sheds Association, a non-profit focused on reducing social isolation, loneliness, and loss of self-esteem in retired men. The idea: giving men opportunities to build community and connectedness by spending time together in …. you guessed it …. Sheds.

Men’s Sheds are groups of locally organized older men looking to work together, make friends, and socialize in the company of men.  Johnson was one of the first people in the US to see the potential of the Men’s Shed movement to become a national force for improving the physical and mental health for older men in America. 

Phil, impressed by well-documented health and well-being experienced by Men’s Shed members in other countries, brought the first operating U.S. Men’s Shed together in Minnesota in 2016. Within the year, he helped start five more local Men’s Sheds in Minnesota and Wisconsin and in the process donated over 3,000 hours of his own time during the last two years. 

Working with Men’s Shed Leaders in Australia, Ireland, the UK and Canada, Johnson and the other four Directors of the US Men’s Sheds Association have seen the formation of 13 active Men’s Sheds in the US, with another 10 Sheds now being formed around the country.

Safety, safety, safety

What three things should be on the mind of every shedder when they enter the Shed?

  1. Safety
  2. Safety
  3. Safety

A few months ago, a committee was formed to be responsible and to coordinate the various aspects that are needed to operate a Men’s Shed efficiently.  The committee works on those items that are part of the daily operation of the Shed.  Such things as trash removal, floor layout, project resources and tool storage are part of (but not limited to) the purview of the committee.  For those of you with industrial experience, the committee is effectively the “plant manager”.

One task that is most important to the committee and in fact to all shedders, is safety.  Too that end, the committee will be establishing safety rules and guidelines for the Shed. This is intended to be an ongoing project.  Stay tuned for more details.

To begin the committee’s safety alerts, open the link to the short article below that was taken from the library of the Handyman Club of America.

woodworking safety 1



Loneliness is being recognized more and more as a health issue.  The primary purpose of the Mens’ Shed movement is to address this problem with older men.  Loneliness has been recognized as a national epidemic.  See this article:


Health services company, Cigna, has recognized the problem.  In a study conducted by the company the issue of loneliness has been identified as having the same deleterious effect on health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

According Dr. Doug Nemecek, the chief health officer for Cigna:  “People who feel lonely are less healthy. There are many studies linking loneliness to worsening heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression and substance abuse. In fact, healthwise, loneliness is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

See the complete Cigna article about the study they have done here:


There are steps older folks can take to help mitigate the feeling of loneliness.  You can keep working, move to a retirement community, or volunteer.  The fourth step one can take, and this is where sheds come into play, is to create and maintain social connections.

See you at the Shed!


Sheds in the news

The Mens’ Shed movement continues to grow in the USA.  Honolulu saw the first Shed and now there are several on the mainland.  The US Mens Shed Association now has 11 sheds in operation.  Check their site here:  http://usmenssheds.org/home-page/.

Check this article from the Washington Post:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/what-to-do-about-lonely-older-men-put-them-to-work/2018/06/22/0c07efc8-53ab-11e8-a551-5b648abe29ef_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.153dba671c78

Our local guy and founder, Glenn Sears, is highlighted.


April 21-0246

Please note the official address for the Hawaii Mens’ Shed.  If there is ever an emergency that requires that 911 is called, this is the address to use for our location.  Using this address will get the first responders to our location quickly and without confusion.  The address is posted on the wall to the left of the Talk Story Pit.  This address can also be used in your GPS program for giving directions to our location.


It was sausage day and meeting day at the Shed on Saturday, April 21.


The guys that were there chatted, moved some tools to a better place and got a lesson on how to safely use a table saw.

April 21-0175

Bob Jewell made a couple of new signs for the talk story pit with the area getting a work out at lunch and during our meeting.


Ron drove his bike in and I got him to strike a pose next to the playhouse.

April 21-0296