Brown spent a week in Kenya on a photo safari, snapping candid shots of everything from elephants to lions to cheetahs, so his wife Kathleen accepted the award for him at a luncheon in April.
“Kenya was incredible experience,” Brown said. “I’m an amateur photographer so it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I must have taken 1,800 photos. My wife normally travels with me, but when I said I wanted to go to Africa, she said, ‘Don’t get eaten, don’t get stomped on and don’t get bit.’ I had a great time. The food was delicious, even though I didn’t know what I was eating half the time. I tried a little bit of everything.”
Despite missing last month’s festivities, Brown, who prefers to be the one taking the pictures, wasn’t able to escape Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor, who at last week’s City Council meeting presented Brown with a city proclamation recognizing his recent accolades.
“It’s nice to be honored, but that’s not why you do the job,” Brown said. “I worked with a great staff, so I can’t take the credit for this. We have a very community-minded staff that wants what’s best for the city. I’m just happy I was able to be a part of it.”
Brown, a self-employed data consultant, spent 11 years on the Park and Recreation Commission. While commissioners are able to serve three three-year terms, no one applied to take Brown’s seat a few years ago, so the city allowed him to stay on. Before the formation of the Park and Recreation Commission, Brown advised the city as a member of the Brentwood Recreation and Park District for four years.
When Brown started out with the district, Brentwood operated only four parks. Today the city is home to 57 parks, including the Sunset Park Athletic Complex, which Brown regards as his greatest accomplishment.
Brown spearheaded the development of the athletic complex, which boasts six baseball and softball fields and three soccer fields. The park provides barbecues, benches, a children’s play area, picnic tables and a walking path, making it an ideal place for the Brentwood community to enjoy youth recreation.
Brown grew up in Brentwood, enjoying recreation programs such as open gym and little league. When he moved back to Brentwood in the 1980s with Kathleen and their daughter Coree, he knew that as more houses cropped up in Brentwood, the need for more parks would increase. When Brown was offered a position on a city committee to look for ways to fund new parks, he jumped at the chance to give back to the community that gave him such a memorable childhood.
“Kids need a place to play,” Brown said. “They need a place to play soccer or baseball. When the kids are involved in activities, the parents come out to see their kids play and then they develop a connection to the community. Brentwood is unique because there’s so much for kids to do here. That’s what makes Brentwood so special: it’s a community for families.”
For his next adventure, Brown will travel next year to Scotland, where Coree will be pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh.