The Volunteer State. I’ve never thought much about how Tennessee got that nickname.
It just seemed to fit so nicely with my experiences here, where folks give so much of themselves to others. As AARP Tennessee’s highest-ranking volunteer for three years, I’ve gotten an even better understanding of the irreplaceable role volunteers play in their communities.
AARP has more than 1,000 volunteers helping folks with their taxes and driving skills, advocating for better services, visiting nursing homes, sending care packages to troops, cleaning up litter, working with schoolchildren, and on and on.
Still, it wasn’t until storms this spring wreaked havoc on more than half the state’s counties that I understood how well Tennessee lives up to its nickname. People didn’t wait to be asked for help; they literally waded right in to give it.
That makes me so proud. Many of the most avid helpers are AARP volunteer leaders like Pat Bryant and John Strong, who helped neighbors in Millington, and Audrey Hall, who spent countless hours working with folks in Nashville. My own church in Kingsport pulled together several loads of supplies that we drove down to Middle Tennessee.
But there’s still so much more to do. And that’s why we’re calling on members across the state to pull together for special “Days of Service” in September and October. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn what people in your region are doing – or to organize your own Day of Service.
There’s still a need for hands-on assistance, supplies and money for those affected by the floods. So, you could do a fund-raising drive, help with a phone bank or bring a team of laborers to help rebuild a home.
There’s still a need for information. Visit us at aarp.org/tn, on Facebook, or on Twitter to get the latest news and then share it with everyone you can.
There’s still a need to help others prepare for similar disasters, whether it’s a flood, tornado or house fire. People need to have clothes, a flashlight, a list of prescriptions and other emergency supplies in a safe place to grab as they head out the door. You can help them figure it out by sharing the disaster preparedness toolkit from Create the Good.
Tennessee first earned the nickname the "Volunteer State" in 1812. When war broke out between the United States and Britain, 2,000 Tennesseans volunteered to fight under the command of Tennessee Militia General Andrew Jackson.
Wouldn’t it be great to have what AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus called an “army of useful citizens” of that size to fight to be of service to our fellow Tennesseans? We can and – with your help – we will.
I look forward to seeing you on the front lines,
AARP Tennessee State President
"The challenge to live up to our better selves, to believe well of our fellow men and perhaps by doing so to help Create The Good, to experiment, to explore, to change and to grow." – AARP Founder Ethel Percy Andrus
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