WASHINGTON (November 28, 2007) — AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world’s largest-circulation magazine with 33 million readers, today announced the recipients of its 2008 Inspire Awards. The Inspire Awards (formerly called the Impact Awards) pay tribute to 10 extraordinary people whose contributions inspire others to action through their innovative thinking, passion and perseverance. This year’s honorees include Caroline Kennedy (Community Service Advocate), Gary Sinise (Fundraiser for Operation Iraqi Children), Gladys Knight (Champion for Diabetes Research), Barbara Morgan (Courageous Educator), Liviu Librescu (Virginia Tech Hero), Helen Thomas (Trailblazing Journalist), Cynthia Kenyon (Pioneer in Longevity Research), Ed Boyer (Founder of Air Transportation Aid), Roslyn Hill (Leader of Neighborhood Revitalization), and Pete Garcia (Affordable Housing Advocate).
“The Inspire Awards showcase people who are using their passion for action to make the world a better place,” said Steven Slon, editor of AARP The Magazine. “These leaders who innovatively support and spark change within their communities are an inspiration to us all.”
Honorees will receive their Inspire Awards during a private luncheon hosted by Barbara Walters at the New York Public Library on December 3, 2007. Their profiles appear in the January/February 2008 issue of AARP The Magazine, released at the end of November, and at www.aarpmagazine.org.
THE 2008 INSPIRE AWARD WINNERS
Ed Boyer - Pilot with a Mission
When Ed Boyer was asked, in the early 1970s, to fly several needy patients to distant hospitals in a borrowed single-engine plane, he figured he was just doing an occasional good deed. But not long after, when the requests starting pouring in, he realized that he was witnessing one of the biggest gaps in our health care system. “Typically there is all kinds of money for medical research, but not a dime to help people get there,” says Boyer. And so he created Mercy Medical Airlift, the nation’s first medical-air-transportation charity, and in 1992, he quit his job to devote all of his time to the venture. Now, 35 years after that first flight, Boyer coordinates some 7,500 volunteer pilots transporting more than 25,000 patients a year through Air Charity Network. “I realized this wasn’t going to become a national system with me flying them one at a time,” says Boyer, 70. “Somebody had to put the thing together.”
Pete C. Garcia - Affordable Housing Advocate
Whenever Pete C. Garcia visited an older Hispanic person’s home, he noticed three things: “Pets, flowers, and lots of santos (pictures and statues of saints).” But as president and CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC), a nonprofit community development corporation, he knew most senior communities in the heavily Hispanic Phoenix area didn’t have any of those things. “Our community wasn’t being served,” says Garcia, now 63. The revelation inspired him to build Casa de Primavera—the first of seven CPLC-built developments in Arizona. His group also funds small Hispanic-owned businesses, runs a federal credit union, offers employment training, and provides shelter for domestic violence victims. Says CPLC cofounder Terri Cruz, “He has an incredible heart.”