AARP’s founder, Ethel Percy Andrus once said: “We learn the inner secret of happiness when we learn to direct our inner drives, our interest and our attention to something besides ourselves”. Our 2012 Andrus Award for Community Service winner, Peter Brady (better known as “the Handy Dandy handyman”), embodies that sentiment and has made it his mission to help improve the lives of others in his community and beyond. The prestigious Andrus Award is AARP’s highest volunteer honor.
Like Dr. Andrus, Peter began the organization that has become his life’s work after retirement at the age of 58. Handy Dandy Handyman works with local contractors and businesses to provide free home improvements and maintenance services to deserving families and individuals in the greater Danbury region.
Peter and his family also started an annual “Rake and Bake” event – a community-wide effort that attracts thousands of volunteers to perform yard maintenance for elderly and disabled residents.
AARP Connecticut State President, Laura Green said, “Peter’s extraordinary generosity, leadership and vision have resulted in a dedicated network of volunteers who provide support to anyone in need throughout the year. Peter inspires by example, working side-by-side with his volunteers and putting his heart and soul into everything he does.”
Brady was recently honored during the annual AARP Connecticut Volunteer Recognition Luncheon. The event was attended by more than 150 people, who joined AARP Connecticut to salute those making a positive difference in the lives of Connecticut seniors and their families.
Some additional highlights and volunteer awards from the event:
Chapter of the Year: AARP Meriden Chapter #2954
For more than 36 years, the Meriden AARP Chapter 2954 has been serving the local community and its members through volunteerism, social and educational programs and just plain old-fashioned fun.
With nearly 200 members, the Chapter is very active in the community, participating in an annual food drives and donating toiletries to a local assisted living facility. They also collect books to support literacy efforts in greater New Haven and provide support to the Walk for Warmth energy assistance program.
In addition to funding an annual scholarship for a local graduating senior, Chapter members also contribute school supplies to students in Meriden schools, volunteer at local hospitals and soup kitchens, help drive seniors to appointments and volunteer at the senior center.
When they are not doing good in the community, the Chapter hosts a number of social events during the year, sponsors monthly educational programs and produces a semi-monthly newsletter to help keep members informed about issues important to older residents.
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