Mary "Muffin" Hester of Lincoln is the Massachusetts recipient of the AARP's most prestigious volunteer award, the 2008 AARP Andrus Award for Community Service. State Sen. Susan Fargo (D-Lincoln), State Rep. Thomas Conroy (D-Wayland), AARP staff and volunteers joined Hester's family, friends, and colleagues to honor her during a luncheon ceremony at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury.
Enhancing the lives of many
"AARP has long celebrated and recognized the achievements and important contributions of dedicated volunteers across the country," said AARP Massachusetts State President Charles Desmond. "It's through the efforts of Muffin and all volunteers in the state that AARP has been able to enhance the lives of our members and their families and address community concerns in Massachusetts."
Thousands of hours of service
Hester has volunteered for Emerson Hospital in Concord since 1966, logging more than 9,400 hours overall. The Lincoln resident currently works in the Transportation Services department, helping shuttle patients to and from appointments within the hospital. She exemplifies a recent AARP survey which finds that today’s 50+ Americans have been volunteering their time and talents for decades, with four in ten – approximately 45 million people – planning to increase their volunteer work in the next five years.
"At 87, Muffin shows, by example, that age does not have to be a barrier," said Judith Anne Powers, a staff member at Emerson Hospital who nominated Hester for the award. "As new volunteers come to Emerson, Muffin is the staff’s first choice as a mentor. Her love for the hospital, her wide range of volunteer experiences, and her gentle humor inspire everyone."
More about Muffin Hester
A Smith College graduate, Hester served in Women Appointed for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) for three years during World War II. With the GI bill, she earned her Master of Arts degree in social work at the University of Chicago. She then took a position as an adoption worker at the Church Home Society, before halting her career to raise her family.
Hester began volunteering with her church in 1952, and has served on the board of the Church Home Society in Boston since 1959. She serves meals every month to those in need at the Pine Street Inn and Rosie’s Place in Boston, and is active with the Lincoln Council on Aging, in addition to her service at Emerson Hospital.
“Muffin has enhanced the lives of hundreds of others by her deeds and unselfish attitude,” said Anne Tisdale-Ashford, a fellow Emerson Hospital volunteer who also nominated Hester for the award. “Whether by feeding the homeless or encouraging people who are frightened and alone in a hospital setting, she constantly affirms her commitment to helping others in a positive and empowering manner.”
About the AARP Andrus Award
The AARP Andrus Award for Community Service is given annually to one AARP member in every state. In Massachusetts, the selection committee for this year’s award included Charles Desmond, state president, AARP Massachusetts; Jack Agnew, former Executive Council member, AARP Massachusetts; Kurt Czarnowski, regional communications director, Social Security Administration; Claire Redmond, Executive Council member, AARP Massachusetts; Carol Greenfield, founder and president, Discovering What’s Next; Louise Myers; Executive Council member, AARP Massachusetts; and Pelino Masciangioli, president, Retired Educators Association of Massachusetts.
The committee evaluated nominees based on a range of criteria, including how their volunteer work positively impacts the lives of individuals 50 and over, how their work improves the community, and how they inspire others to volunteer. To be eligible for the award, nominees must be AARP members, must have accomplished the volunteer service for which they are nominated during the period of Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2007, and must have completed the service without pay.
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