Alvin ‘Bud’ Ekern of Fargo is the recipient of the 2011 AARP Andrus Award for Community Service.
AARP North Dakota selected Ekern for his significant volunteer service and for the impact he has on the lives of others and on his community.
Ekern has been a volunteer for the Fargo Emergency Food Pantry for 11 years logging about 1,300 hours every year.
Linda Clark, coordinator for the Fargo Emergency Food Pantry, said, “By making his large contribution to the viability of the Emergency Food Pantry during the economic downturn, ‘Bud’ has helped change what could have been a community with needs beyond its resources to one that continues to deal successfully with the conditions that exist. The dependable and considerable number of hours he volunteers translates into a reliable supply of food for the neediest residents of our community.”
On a daily basis, Ekern completes a labor-intensive route of collections from super markets and other sources regardless of the weather. His volunteer involvement helps to maintain a constant stream of donated food that served 22,923 individuals in 2010.
Ekern is also an example to others, especially new volunteers.
Clark said, “While others may see volunteering as a casual activity, they see a different model in ‘Bud.’ They see that a person can take ownership in the success of an agency by being a reliable and consistent team member. They also see that they can substitute the sense of accomplishment and well-being they received in their careers with volunteer work that is equally as satisfying.”
The Andrus Award is named in honor of Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, who founded AARP. It is AARP’s most prestigious and visible volunteer award for community service and symbolizes that individuals have the power and ability to make a difference in the lives of others. The award is given to one North Dakotan annually.
AARP North Dakota President Rodger Wetzel said, “This award acts as a symbol not only to our members, but people of all ages, that we can all work together for positive social change. AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve.”