AARP's commitment to volunteer service can be traced back to the life and vision of our founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus. Each year, AARP honors the legacy of Dr. Andrus with the AARP Andrus Award for Community Service, our most prestigious and visible volunteer award. The 2007 Andrus Award for Community Service recognized 53 unique individuals, one, (sometimes two) from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, who have demonstrated the power to make it better in their communities in ways that are consistent with AARP's mission, vision, and commitment to volunteer service, and that inspire other to volunteer. Like Dr. Andrus, these winners have a desire to bring ideas and dreams to life. Their work and achievements have positive impact on the lives of many.
2007 Winners of the Andrus Award for Community Service
ALABAMA, Earl Heath
AARP Alabama's 2007 Andrus Award winner, Earl Heath has been credited with reviving a struggling chapter and increasing membership to 120 during his tenure as president. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Montgomery Area Food Bank; is the past president of the Capitol Toastmasters Club where he earned the Distinguished Toastmaster Award; and is a member of the Montgomery Rotary Club, the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, the Air Force Association, and the Military Officers Association of America. Earl is on the Board of Advisors for Building Our Neighborhoods for Development and Success, counsels and mentors entrepreneurs and small businesses through the SCORE Association, and is also an active member of Whitfield United Methodist Church where he is a Sunday school teacher.
ALASKA, Tom and Nancy Osborne
Tax-Aide volunteers Tom and Nancy Osborne are AARP Alaska's 2007 Andrus Award winners. Prior to his retirement in 2004, Tom, a retired Lt. Col. from the U.S. Army Reserve and Alaska National Guard, worked as a teacher and school counselor for 31 years. He is currently a seasonal National Park Ranger in the Kenai Fjords National Park and continues to volunteer at sports activities at Seward High School.
After 33 years of teaching, Nancy retired three years ago from the Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC) where she taught math to several training areas. Nancy also taught a comprehensive tax unit while at AVTEC and worked on tax returns for many of her students. In addition to volunteering for the AARP Tax-Aide program, Tom and Nancy are active in their church.
ARKANSAS, James Smalley
One-time AARP Chapter #2362 President James Smalley is AARP Arkansas's 2007 Andrus Award winner. Now a board member, James has worked on several committees, community service programs, and advocacy issues. He was appointed by Governor Mike Beebe to The Home Health Care Advisory Council where he serves as an AARP representative. He has served as president of the Little Rock Founders Lions Club, and as district director for the Lions Club International Foundation, which is the charity arm of Lions International. James also spends time as a coach with Senior Net, a nonprofit computer training class for people 55 and over. In addition, he spends time volunteering with his wife at the Reynolds Center on Aging.
James has served for several years as the advocacy chair for Arkansas with the College of Chaplains, now the Association of Professional Chaplains. He presently serves on the Endowment Committee of Pulaski Heights Baptist Church. Once a week, he works part time as a Chaplain for the Veterans Administration Hospitals and volunteers at the Clinton Library.
ARIZONA, Dorothy Lisonbee
Dorothy Lisonbee has served as an outstanding volunteer for AARP Arizona and for the All Arizona School Retirees Association (AASRA) for longer than the Arizona state office has been in existence. As a Board member of AASRA, Dorothy labored diligently and effectively to provide leadership and increase AASRA membership. Dorothy, who taught for more than 36 years, has both a grasp and a passion for issues of concern to school retirees. She works hard to help enhance the quality of education for children at the Thomas Pappas School, many of whom are homeless.
As chairperson of the AARP Arizona Advocacy Network, Dorothy has led and trained many AARP volunteers in efforts to raise awareness of the issues affecting school retirees and other older Arizonans. Dorothy also successfully advocated for increased funding for home-and community-based services, assistance for grandparents raising grandchildren, consumer protection and quality of life issues for the older adult population.
CALIFORNIA, Bob Prath
AARP California's 2007 Andrus Award winner, Bob Prath, is a man of warmth, intelligence and grace who has given much of his life to serving others. Bob retired as a Navy Captain in 1991, after which he taught in the Sweetwater Union High School District. For more than 10 years, Bob served as a HICAP counselor and has been an active volunteer with health advocacy, disaster preparedness, intergenerational activities and mobility and transportation issues. Despite his busy schedule, Bob has been a dedicated AARP volunteer since 1995. He has been a regional mobilizer, regional volunteer leader and most recently, the state coordinator for Community Presence Teams, managing Regional Volunteer Leaders throughout the state. His leadership in this capacity has increased collaboration and communication among volunteers throughout California.
COLORADO, Rocky Williams
In 1991, Rocky Williams saw an article in the neighborhood newspaper about the local AARP Chapter. The next morning he paid a visit and has been hooked ever since. It wasn't long until Rocky got his hands on the Chapter Newsletter, helping it evolve from one page to eight. About 100 copies of the Geezer Gazette are mailed monthly and about 250 are sent by email. Rocky's other AARP passion is looking for volunteer opportunities for himself and Chapter members. During this year's annual "Sack A Seed" project, Rocky, along with 92 volunteers, sacked enough seeds for 1,400 low income families to grow a vegetable garden. Another successful program spear-headed by Rocky is the "Dig a Dictionary" in which every third grader receives a copy of the latest dictionary. In 2006, his Chapter completed 35 projects and won Chapter of the Year in Colorado.
CONNECTICUT, Maury Johnson
M.W. "Maury" Johnson has volunteered for AARP for nearly 20 years. When AARP Connecticut needed volunteers to lobby the Legislature on additional funding for transportation alternatives, Maury was first in line. When AARP Connecticut needed help starting a Grandparents' Taskforce, Maury hit the ground running. Also when AARP was searching for a dynamic leader to sit on its national Social Impact Team for Livable Communities, Maury was one of the few chosen from around the country. Four years after joining AARP, Maury became an AARP Driver Safety instructor. In 2002, he rose to chief trainer where he remains today. He continues to teach driver safety classes and his colleagues credit his enthusiasm for an increase in instructor applicants. In 2003, AARP Connecticut honored him as Volunteer Leader of the Year; and this year, the Stratford Public School System bestowed upon him its Friend of Education Award.
DELAWARE, Marge Ressler
Marge Ressler, is AARP Delaware's 2007 Andrus Award winner. As Greater Dover Area Chapter #721 President, Marge organized more than 20 members to collect pledges for the "Divided We Fail" campaign during the states annual Day of Service. Chapter members signed up 325 attendees. Marge also coordinated a series of local Days of Service with more than a dozen chapter members participating. She also established a Community Service Program held in the fall of 2007 where chapter members read to pre-schoolers at the Kent County Library.
In 1991 she served as an AARP Women's Initiative Spokesperson for Delaware. Under this program women were encouraged to take better care of themselves and improve their well being. Marge also represented the Women's Initiative on the AARP Delaware Leadership Council serving under President's William Clark, Edward Cahill and Richard Johnson. As a result, Governor Ruth Ann Minner appointed Marge to the 25 member Delaware Commission for Women in April of 2004.
WASHINGTON D.C., Dr. Richard A DeCarlo
Native Washingtonian Dr. Richard DeCarlo former president of Penn-Branch Chapter 3473 became active with AARP as a result of the 2001 AARP DC Day, an Information and Resource Fair. The fair inspired and energized him to join the Penn-Branch Chapter, one of the District's oldest, largest and most active chapters, where he ultimately became its 12th president. As an economic security initiative, Dr. DeCarlo instituted a monthly drive to collect canned goods and monetary contributions for a local interfaith, community-based organization that serves the poor and homeless of the nation's capital. He devised a competitive membership drive that resulted in a robust 27 percent increase in the chapter's membership. In addition, Dr. DeCarlo single-handedly cajoled scores of his chapter members to work along with him and the DC state office on its 2006 Day of Service project of repairing and beautifying four homes owned by limited-income senior citizens.
FLORIDA, Tess Canja
Tess Canja, AARP Florida's 2007 Andrus Award winner, helped save AARP Chapter 80 in Port Charlotte from dissolution in 2004. As its president, she focused the chapter on community service, including hurricane recovery, transportation and Medicare Part D. By 2006, the chapter was back to robust health, with 150 members and a designation as one of Florida's four superior AARP chapters. At the same time, Tess became an AARP Florida spokesperson on Social Security, Medicare, Divided We Fail, a Medicare Part D counselor, an advocacy trainer and Coordinator of Advocacy for Congressional District 16. She served as AARP's National President from 2000 to 2002, retiring two years later from the AARP National Board, having served for 12 years.
GEORGIA, Warren Deeds
AARP Georgia's 2007 Andrus Award winner, Warren Deeds is no stranger to volunteering. For the past eight years, he has served as a volunteer advocate for AARP on their Capitol Team. For the last four of those years, Warren has taken the role of capitol leader working on and attending many statewide public committee hearings on election reform, payday loan reform, cemetery reform, predatory mortgage lending and elder abuse. Throughout the Legislative session, Warren can be found at the Capitol every day talking to legislators and others to highlight the needs of the elderly. Warren has delivered meals on wheels and has been involved with the food program at his church.
AARP Georgia has honored him with several advocacy awards in the past; and, in 2002 he was awarded the Vita Ostrander Award by the Georgia Council on Aging. The award recognizes an older adult who demonstrates exemplary leadership as an uncompensated, statewide legislative advocate to improve the quality of life for older Georgians.
HAWAII, Charlotte Peltz
Thirteen years ago, Charlotte Peltz joined the East Honolulu AARP Chapter and ever since has worked diligently to increase mobility options for seniors through the AARP Driver Safety Program. In 2006, she became a champion for pedestrian safety and spearheaded the largest visibility and service project in the history of the Hawaii state office - a pedestrian safety audit of 50 intersections that involved more than 250 volunteers in AARP's 2006 Day of Service. The project became a catalyst for passage of a Honolulu City and County Charter amendment to make Honolulu a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly city and set the stage for an extensive legislative and education effort in 2007. Charlotte, who turned 80 in October, has a professional background in education and has run pre-schools, taught school and served on PTAs.
IDAHO, Pat Heckman
Although Pat Heckman, AARP Idaho's 2007 Andrus Award winner, spends most of her day as an employee for the Idaho Department of Transportation, she still finds time to volunteer as site coordinator for the AARP Tax-Aide site in Mountain Home. She has the fourth highest e-filing rate in the state. In addition to her work with Tax-Aide, she helps seniors and low-income individuals with financial planning, public assistance and support. Her grant-writing assistance for the Senior Center helped purchase a new van for the center. In addition, Pat helps raise funds for diabetes research and promotions on the awareness of diabetes.
ILLINOIS, Anne Haliotis
Anne Haliotis serves as a volunteer with the AARP Tax-Aide program where her computer expertise and willingness to help others has enabled dozens of older adults to get the tax assistance they need and deserve. Shortly after starting with the Tax-Aide program, Anne assumed the position of electronic return originator for the site, using her career experience as a computer programmer to further strengthen the site's use of the TaxWise program. Her drive to volunteer has resulted in tax savings for many older adults. In addition to serving with the Tax-Aide program, Anne is the treasurer of the Savanna Library Board, and vice president of the Carroll County Historical Society and the Carroll County Humane Society. She has also volunteered her time with the Carroll County Genealogy Society where she created a web page to assist researchers in locating information in the county.
INDIANA, Fred LeBouef
Fred LeBouef, AARP Indiana's 2007 Andrus Award winner, has been a valued volunteer since 1996. In his 11 years of volunteering with AARP he has held a number of volunteer positions in which his leadership skills, enthusiasm and innovation have shined. His volunteer responsibilities and roles have run the gamut from serving as Indiana's state coordinator of Community Operations to becoming the lead volunteer for the Veterans' History Project, co-founding Indiana's Eliminating Drugs Environmentally Program and fulfilling the position of chapter officer and advisor. Additionally, he has contributed his time and talents to the notorious AARP Van and TRIAD and his current roles as an AARP ambassador and fraud fighter. Directly or indirectly, Fred has touched many parts of AARP and impacted many individuals and communities along the way.
IOWA, Eve Casserly
As President of the Johnson County AARP Chapter and an active volunteer in her community, Eve Casserly has advanced the mission of AARP and inspired others to service. She has made a powerful difference in her community, particularly through taking the lead in developing a comprehensive information guide for her county. She recruited, organized and supervised other volunteers to assist her in producing this guide, which helps connect citizens 50+ to activities, educational opportunities and lifestyle options. She has for years led Johnson County's Day of Service project and represented AARP in a coalition that developed a program to help people with disabilities remain safe during emergencies.
Eve took on a very challenging leadership role in recognizing volunteers in her community by coordinating her chapter's celebration of Older Americans month, which involved more than 400 volunteers, 118 businesses and multiple organizations. Eve is dedicated to civic engagement and serves in a leadership position in the Older Iowans Legislature, is an active member of St. Mary's Catholic Church and a member of the Coralville Volunteer Police Academy.
KANSAS, Dr. Harry Watts
Dr. Harry Watts has been a leading champion of those 50+ and earned him the position of first president of the Hays AARP Chapter #5167. Through his leadership, the Hays chapter became involved in numerous successful endeavors including hosting the first AARP Western Summit. This event brought together AARP members to learn about and discuss issues important to the aging population. He spearheaded an effort to help Hays seniors become computer-savvy by setting up classes at the local high school and organized a day-long "Senior Celebration" at the local mall. Dr. Watts also successfully advocated for the creation of the Senior Activity Area at the Hays Medical Center to provide an outdoor green space for activities such as croquet and horse shoes. He convinced the local newspaper to devote an entire page each week to aging issues and recently became the co-host of a local radio program that provides information and resources on aging to the community.
KENTUCKY, Mertigene Bell
Building community and enhancing the quality of life across all generations has defined the volunteer work of Mertigene Bell. As the treasurer for Kentucky's Ohio County Senior Services she oversaw the fundraising and planning for the expansion of the Ohio County Senior Center, enabling it to offer a variety of expanded services. In 2006, she, along with fellow volunteers, prepared tax returns that yielded an estimated $100,000 in refunds to local seniors. Mertigene also helped plan and execute the successful 2006 Ohio County Repair Affair, a one-day blitz providing home repairs to those in need. As an AARP member her service to the Aging Council, Regional Senior Games and Ombudsman Board increased AARP's visibility in a seven-county region. Mertigene is long-time member and past president of Ohio County Chapter #4061 and presently serves as its vice president.
LOUISIANA, Dr. Henry and Viola Williams
Dr. Henry M. Williams and Viola J. Williams have been named AARP Louisiana's 2007 Andrus Awards winners. Dr. Williams chaired the steering committee that organized the New Orleans' AARP Chapter 4550 in 1987, where he now serves as the legislative chairman. Viola serves as the treasurer. From organizing courses such as AARP Tax-Aide and AARP Driver Safety to regularly visiting nursing homes to participating in AARP rebuilding projects after Hurricane Katrina, the Williams' are a formidable team. Viola is an active volunteer at Tulane Memorial Baptist Church and Fourth Baptist Church in New Orleans. Dr. Williams is also the Community Coordinator for Orleans Parish for the Greater New Orleans Legislative Council. Together, they enjoy recruiting and leading volunteer groups for AARP's annual Day of Service.
MAINE, Bruce Kinney
Education has clearly been a significant priority for Maine's 2007 Andrus Award winner Bruce Kinney. He spent 30 years as a superintendent of schools and after retiring served the next 10 years as Maine's state director of Migrant Education. Bruce has been active in many civic activities including serving as the president of Rotary, serving on the City Council, and leading the city as mayor. Bruce has brought that enthusiasm to AARP where he serves as a Long-Term Care ombudsman with, a Driver Safety Program instructor, a Tax-Aide volunteer, and chair of the Legislative Advocacy Committee for AARP Maine. In addition, he is back in the classroom volunteering weekly in his daughter's kindergarten class.
MARYLAND, Jack and Mary Ferry
Jack and Mary Ferry, AARP Maryland's 2007 Andrus Award winners, have been members of AARP for more than 17 years. Both are talented leaders: Jack has served as chapter president and vice president and is currently program chairman and sergeant-at-arms of the Ocean Pines chapter. Mary has been the recording and the corresponding secretary. In addition, they volunteer with Meals on Wheels; the Berlin Nursing Home; Diakonia, an emergency overnight shelter for men, women, and children, and at a county center that provides assistance and training to mentally handicapped adults. Their tremendous dedication to these and other volunteer causes is an inspiration to those; and they are a treasure to their community.
MASSACHUSETTS, Louise Myers
Award winner Louise Myers has served AARP in many capacities, including health advocacy coordinator, VOTE representative, minority affairs specialist, disability initiative specialist, and is currently an executive council member. She provides valuable outreach to diverse organizations and communities, working to ensure that all people have the opportunity to live healthy, quality lives as they age. Louise is a relentless advocate for preserving and strengthening Social Security, represents AARP on the Multicultural Coalition on Aging and holds positions on the Minuteman Home Care Board, Chelmsford Council on Aging, National Caucus on Black Aging and the National Council of Negro Women. She is also a member of the Massachusetts Association of Older Americans and the Hearing Loss Association of America.
MICHIGAN, LeRoy Fladseth
LeRoy Fladseth joined AARP Michigan's volunteer ranks in 2003 as the state coordinator for the AARP Driver Safety Program and made an immediate impact. Utilizing his background of 26 years with the Michigan State Police, LeRoy focused his passion for traffic safety first into growing the Driver Safety Program. In 18 months he increased graduate numbers from 1,900 to 2,900. In addition, he spearheaded a project to put DSP brochures in all Secretary of State mega-centers, participated in a leadership team that planned an international symposium on older driver issues and put AARP Michigan on the Global Aging stage by sharing best practices and program benefits with other countries. LeRoy also expanded several programs into the Hispanic community, including the We Need to Talk and CarFit programs. In 2005 LeRoy initiated an advocacy campaign to allow auto insurers to offer discounts to driver safety graduates. Two years later, after relentless lobbying, LeRoy attended the signing ceremony of Public Act #610.
MINNESOTA, Marion McElroy
Marion McElroy has dedicated her life to her community. She is the founder of the Sabathani AARP Chapter #52-3 where she serves as the advisor to the chapter president, recruits new members, and oversees many of the chapter's AARP outreach events and functions. She has reached out to young people and volunteers as a mentor for students at a local high school. Along with working with the youth, she regularly visits nursing home residents, and serves meals at the Sabathani Community Center and at her church. Each year, Marion volunteers at the AARP Stretch and Stroll and helps at the AARP Information Center. As onne of AARP's advocacy volunteers, she frequently delivers AARP messages to legislators and members.
MISSISSIPPI, Jeanette Schwantes
AARP Southaven Chapter Chairperson and Driver Safety Program Instructor, Jeanette Schwantes is AARP Mississippi's 2007 Andrus Award winner. As program chair, she has presented programs on identity theft, estate planning, senior housing, assisted living communities; and, she has inspired many chapter members to volunteer as driver safety instructors. Jeanette helps out at hospitals, libraries and nursing homes; and, she works closely with her community fire and police departments to provide programs on home safety issue. To bring public transportation to Desoto County, Jeanette encouraged the chapter president to become active with the Mississippi Department of Transportation. She is a volunteer with the Mid-South Lyons Sight and Hearing Services, which provides services to the community to prevent hearing and vision loss to indigent clients.
Jeanette is also a customer service volunteer with Methodists Hospital, ensuring that patients' mail reaches them in the hospital and is forwarded to their homes when they are discharged. Her enthusiasm and dedication motivate and inspire others to become more active in community projects.
MISSOURI, Carlene Davis
Carlene W. Davis, diversity/training member of the Missouri Executive Council spent 35 years as an educator in the St. Louis Public School System. Carlene believes in the philosophy of volunteerism and is involved in many organizations. Carlene is a mentor with Mentor St. Louis, where she follows a child from kindergarten through grade five; assisting with reading, math, and language skills. She also mentors her peers through Oasis Peer Counseling. Carlene volunteers through her sorority Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. where she is a member of the Social Action Committee. Being a "people person," she is also a member of the membership retention and reclamation committee, which is a fun committee that plans activities for the membership at large. Through her church, Cote Brilliante Presbyterian, Carlene is also a member of the Boosters, The Pilots, The Esther Circle and The William G. Gillespie Scholarship Committee and she attends bible study weekly. AARP honored Carlene in 2003 with the RTA Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award at the Celebration of Life event in St. Louis.
MONTANA, Clayton Croff
Clayton Croff, AARP Montana's 2007 AARP Andrus Award winner, has been a long-time member of AARP and resident of Montana. He is a retired school administrator and has been active in his community and state-both with AARP and the aging network. He is a staunch advocate and organizer for AARP in Montana and as a member of the Governor's Council on Aging, has taken AARP's focus to top levels. Since 2001, he has been AARP Montana's Community Service Network chair where he has worked with community volunteers throughout the state as well as taking AARP's message to the Billings Chapter and retired educators. In 2006, he took AARP Montana's anti-TABOR initiative to the Montana Retired Educators Association (MREA) in Miles City and elsewhere. Clayton has been instrumental in adding purpose, thoughtfulness and direction to AARP and MREA members' daily living. He's a role model for prospective members and has encouraged local chapter members to attend professional meetings, such as the Governor's Council on Aging. Clayton is also building relationships in the South Billings Hispanic community, sharing time and materials in Spanish.
NEBRASKA, Rosalee Yeaworth
Dr. Rosalee Yeaworth is Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus of the University of Nebraska College of Nursing where she served 15 years as Dean of the College. She serves on the Advisory Council and the Policy Committee of the local Alzheimer's Association, and helped start and co-led the first group in Nebraska for persons with early stage Alzheimer's and their partners. As state director of Health Advocacy, Rosalee is active on the state level front. She just completed six years on the Health and Long-Term Care Committee of AARP's National Policy Council and is an AARP representative on the local Coalition to Protect A ging Adults. Dr. Yeaworth is in her sixth year of service on the Governor appointed Nebraska Center for Nursing, a group charged with helping to solve the nursing shortage. She recently served on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing - Hartford Gerontology Curriculum Development Project.
NEVADA, Rick and JoAnn James
JoAnn and Rick James have served as members of the AARP Nevada volunteer team for more than two years. Their many hours of volunteer service at various activities and events have provided thousands of AARP members and non-members alike with knowledge and information about AARP programs and services. Their volunteer efforts continually enhance AARP's social impact goals and inspire others to get involved as well. Projects they have been involved in include Day of Service, presenting American flags and information packets to new United States citizens, serving as greeters for the AARP Tax-Aide program, serving as AARP Chapter Board members as well as giving out information and engaging people at countless community events. The James' volunteer spirits are contagious, getting AARP Chapter members, friends, family members and neighbors excited to volunteer with them. Not only are the James' valued members of the AARP Nevada volunteer force, they are dedicated volunteers for numerous other community-based groups and programs.
NEW HAMPSHIRE, Tim Gormley
Since 2003, Tim Gormley has volunteered for a variety of roles with AARP. He has been the Concord Regional lead volunteer coordinator since 2005, was elected vice president of the Concord Chapter and is a member of the New Hampshire AARP Executive Council. In addition, he is a member of the New Hampshire State Committee on Aging. Tim participates actively each year in AARP's Day of Service by recruiting numerous volunteers. He is also a valuable recruiter of volunteers for advocacy efforts in the Concord Area. Tim has been on the Board of Directors for the Northeast Health Care Quality Foundation since 2004 and volunteers with the St. Vincent De Paul Society and the Concord Food Bank.
NEW JERSEY, Patricia Gellner-Davenport
For the past ten years, Patricia Gellner-Davenport's unwavering efforts in various volunteer leadership roles have enhanced the lives of hundreds of AARP members and many prospective members. As the grassroots coordinator of the AARP New Jersey Northwest Region, Pat was successful in getting the sunshine clause that was part of the original Auto Insurance Discount Bill removed which was a major win to protect the New Jersey State Auto Insurance Driver's discount. In addition, Pat's work as a volunteer with the AARP New Jersey Speakers Bureau helped to educate hundreds of members and the public at large about the changes in the law for Medicare Part D, protection of Social Security and the need for more funding to support home-and community-based services for long-term care recipients and their families. As the volunteer state coordinator of the New Jersey Driver Safety Program (DSP), Pat manages 173 DSP volunteers and recently launched the DSP in Spanish.
NEW MEXICO, Waldo Anton and Clarice Getz
Clarice Getz and Waldo Anton have been involved as AARP volunteers since the 1980's, particularly with the Santa Fe AARP Chapter. Both are key Legislative Advocacy volunteers and under their leadership, AARP New Mexico has been able to secure passage of a Home Loan Protection Act, Predatory Lending Act and Identity Theft Security Freeze Act. Clarice and Waldo secured bi-partisan support for these controversial pieces of legislation and negotiated specific consumer protection language in all of these acts. Their extensive knowledge of state government and the Legislature, as well as their passion for improving the lives of others, have inspired others to join AARP as volunteers and become more active in their own communities.
NEW YORK, Geneva Conway
Geneva Conway has volunteered with AARP for 10 years and each day her passion for volunteering grows. She has served as a spokesperson, administrative volunteer and advocacy team member; and, has helped build bridges with local churches and the African American community. Outside of AARP,, Geneva continues her volunteer passion with active participation at her church, residing as president of the Wide Awake Club, Pastor's Aid President, a YWCC teacher, a secretary of the Restoration Committee and a volunteer with the Make a Wish Foundation. Geneva is the recipient of the Outstanding Community Presence award and has been a role model for people of all ages. She provides hope, strength, courage and guidance to those around her. The grace, dignity and commitment she shows in all of her work are inspiring. The insights she brings to issues and activities from her years of both professional and volunteer work are priceless.
NORTH CAROLINA, Doris Dick
Doris Dick, AARP North Carolina's 2007 Andrus Award winner, has done a lot to make the residents of Yadkin County aware of the services available through AARP. She has educated her fellow neighbors on health; caregivers concerns and end of life issues; Medicare; and rights under Medicare, long-term care, driving concerns and on how to access local resources and services. Doris set up a meals-on-wheels program, established the Yadkin County Elders Affairs Department (a one-stop service and information for the elderly,) set up the Yadkin County Medical Ministries to aid those lacking drug insurance-coverage and got the County's Commissioners to participate in the prescription drug card program sponsored by NACo. Doris also established a healthy nutrition project for seniors and a Faith in Action program. She gives workshops on Social Security and Medicare Part D, and chairs the Regional Aging Advisory Committee of the Northwest Piedmont Council of Governments AoA.
NORTH DAKOTA, Rita Miller
Since 1990, Fargo resident Rita Miller, 80, has contributed 22,739 volunteer hours to the Fargo community. In 2006 alone, she served 1,891 volunteer hours at 14 different nonprofit agencies. She served 320 of those hours as an AARP Tax-Aide counselor, a service she has provided since 1990. Many of the nonprofits for which Rita volunteers request her because she is dependable, self-motivated, detail-oriented, and routinely impresses the agencies with her efficiency and effectiveness. Gail Agnes, who nominated Miller for the AARP North Dakota 2007 Andrus Award, said, "Rita is the epitome of volunteerism and is a role model for her peers. She enthusiastically recruits other seniors, enhancing their lives by encouraging them to participate in meaningful volunteer opportunities. Rita knows the positive medical, psychological and social benefits of volunteering and readily shares these facts with others."
OHIO, Nancy Donley
Nancy Donley's 18 months of volunteer service with the Council for Older Adults of Delaware County has helped AARP members and other older adults live in their homes with dignity. Nancy recruits volunteers, delivers meals, supports caregivers, advocates for senior services, participates in fundraising and assists with the Farmers' Market Voucher program for older adults. Thanks to her, many seniors receive monthly $20 vouchers that provide them the opportunity to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.
OKLAHOMA, Rose Millspaugh
When the AARP Weatherford Chapter's President became seriously ill in 2006, Program Chair Rose Millspaugh stepped in to ensure that chapter activities continued smoothly and to organize the Day of Service project. She continues to provide many diverse programs for chapter meetings, is an AARP Driver Safety Program instructor and an Assistant State coordinator and teaches several classes and workshops for Driver Safety instructors. Other roles Rose assumes are ombudsman at an assisted living facility, a volunteer with Meals on Wheels for shut-ins and a TRIAD member. In 2006, Creative Homemakers awarded Rose the Custer County Home and Community Education Rookie Award for her amazing work in the community. She and her husband Stephen were named RSVP Volunteers of the Month at the Weatherford Pioneer Center. In her spare time, Rose occasionally leads water aerobics at the local YMCA and is a member of Kappa Kappa Iota, a professional organization for educators.
OREGON, Betty Krause
Betty Krause has been an active AARP Tax-Aide volunteer and advocate for more than 35 years, 12 of which have been as district coordinator. She enjoys working with people, helping them resolve tax dilemmas, and estimates that she has assisted in filing of more than 5,000 tax returns. Her dedication to aiding people with their taxes, not only at tax time but year-round, has made Betty a champion for AARP members and communities concerned about their financial security. An avid fan of the online filing system, she has worked hard to improve her volunteers' computer skills and expertise. Betty has also volunteered with the local Meals on Wheels program and is an energetic member at the Newport Senior Center.
PENNSYLVANIA, Edward Ryan
For the last twelve years, Edward Ryan has held many roles within AARP including legislative advocate for healthcare and retirement security, a member of AARP's state long-term care task force, a Community Representative and a Chapter Board member. In efforts to support and enhance the global aging program, he participates and reports on events at United Nations-Related Conferences. Last fall, as member of the NGO committee on aging in New York, Ed co-chaired the observance of the International Day of Older Persons at the United Nations. As a recent Board
member for such groups as the Pennsylvania Assisted Living Association, the Arthritis Foundation and the Lehigh County Senior Citizens Association and through his participation in the United Way's Lehigh Valley Alliance on Aging, Ed has helped to raise awareness and speak for the vulnerable. He appreciates the value of contributions from the experience and wisdom of older persons, as well as the advantages of intergenerational relationships.
PUERTO RICO, Juan Mojica
By helping others through community service activities, Juan Mojica promotes social change and independent living among the elderly. He is AARP Puerto Rico's state coordinator for the Driver Safety Program and for more than eight years has been a key member of the Humacao Chapter. The special educational projects he's provided for his chapter and other organizations have had a significant impact on the quality of life of his community's aging population. These projects have focused on issues such as health, economic security and independent living. He is also involved with the Cultural Center of Las Piedras where he offers his volunteer services to different non-profit groups.
RHODE ISLAND, Rita Wood
Because of her remarkable community service and for the impact she has had on the lives of others, Rita Wood of Portsmouth, is the AARP Rhode Island 2007 Andrus Award winner. Rita is involved in at least 18 organizations, including the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Portsmouth Library, Newport Art Museum, and the Portsmouth and Middletown Historical Societies. She is the newsletter editor for five organizations and developed the newsletter for the RI Retired Teachers' Association. Rita runs the educational program at Witherbee School in Middletown where students experience how life and education was like in the 1800s. What is inspiring and courageous about Rita is that MS has never gotten in her way or handicapped her to volunteer in her community and for AARP/NRTA. Rita has always stepped back and has determinately found a "niche" in each group that keeps her actively involved.
SOUTH CAROLINA, Thelma Boozer
Thelma K. Boozer works tirelessly to assist members in her community in countless ways. She is the lead community outreach volunteer for the Morris Chapel Baptist Church's clothing and food pantry and she works with a number of local churches and AARP chapter members to load tractor trailers with goods for Katrina victims. She is extremely involved with the Brentwood Hills Home Owner's Association and as a way of bringing the community together, has encouraged AARP's membership in the Crime Stoppers program. In 2006, she worked with AARP members on the Day of Service to organize a food drive that resulted in eight barrels of non-perishable items being collected and distributed to a local food bank. She uses every opportunity to recruit members for AARP. Thelma does not think of what she does as being special because she loves giving service to others.
SOUTH DAKOTA, Dennis and Shirley Eisnach
Pierre Mayor and First Lady Dennis and Shirley Eisnach are AARP South Dakota's 2007 Andrus Award winners. For many years, Dennis was the principal lobbyist for the South Dakota Highway Patrol, before serving as the commissioner for the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. After his state government work, Dennis became government relations representative for MDU Resources lobbying for issues involving electric deregulation, taxes, land use, environmental and energy issues for both South Dakota and Wyoming. Shirley was an elementary school teacher in Rapid City for six years and an elementary and junior high school teacher in Pierre for twenty years. She is active in her church and several organizations and is a past president of the South
Dakota Retired Teachers Association. Her most important job right now is grandparenting her eight young grandchildren and serving as First Lady of Pierre. Dennis and Shirley are very involved with advocacy at the state level and are strong supporters of AARP's social impact agenda.
TENNESSEE, Matthew Davis Jr.
Community and civic leader Matthew R. Davis, Jr. is affectionately called the "Mayor of New Chicago" because of his commitment to the North Memphis community. Even while active in labor, political and civil rights movements, his participation in scouts earned him the "George Meany Award," a national recognition of union members who have made significant contributions to scouting. Matthew has held various positions with AARP including vice president of Chapter #2443, vice chairman of the State Legislative Committee, Minority Affairs Spokesperson, Congressional District Team member and he is currently an advocacy volunteer. Although wheelchair bound, Matthew continues to serve his community. He is an inspiration to all.
TEXAS, Lisa Lum
Volunteer Lisa Lum, AARP Texas' 2007 Andrus Award winner, believes that aging should not take purpose out of one's life. Consequently, she wears four hats: AARP Advocacy volunteer; Driver Safety instructor, recruiter, and trainer; Chapter president; and outreach volunteer. She has organized the grassroots program and corps and mentored new advocacy volunteers. She is president of AARP Bayland Park-Houston Chapter 4418 and believes "when we serve our chapter member, we in turn serve the community." From organizing chapter members to providing financial assistance to out-of-state, hurricane-ravaged chapters to educating chapters and community groups on Medicare Part D and the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy, Lisa has been the voice of AARP for her chapter and community.
UTAH, Joseph Bernini
Eureka resident Joseph Bernini has a hobby--volunteering. For more than three decades, his hobby has included roles such as city marshal, a councilman and a firefighter. He initiated an emergency medical technician (EMT) program and was an EMT team member for 5 years. He also spent 20+ years as county commissioner for the Six County Area on Aging and Board member of the Central Valley Medical Center Hospital. Joseph serves on multiple human services boards and has raised funds to support student scholarships and area hospitals. Seniors in Juab County have greater access to physician appointments and socialization opportunities by riding the transit bus driven by Joseph. This humble, generous man truly embodies the wisdom of Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus by unselfishly choosing to serve others rather than to be served.
VERMONT, Donald Merit
Donald Merit's philosophy of life is that to be a citizen of a country and a member of a community, one must contribute to and engage on many levels. His liaison with AARP started more than ten years ago with VOTE, which aims to get more people to vote in elections. After being named volunteer coordinator a few years ago, he organized CVAT (Champlain Valley Advocacy Team) to assist the state office in health care reform and promote enrollment of uninsured Vermonters. The team is also working on legislation which would provide affordable electricity for low-income citizens. Every year, he tutors a child who needs scholastic and emotional attention. Donald is an activist with a keen mind and a generous spirit. He is a model citizen, who sets a great example for his grandchildren and for all who know him.
VIRGIN ISLANDS, Helen Vessup
Moving from AARP Chapter Leader to State Leadership Council member to her current position of Co-Team Leader for AARP Virgin Islands' Community Outreach Team, Helen Vessup has been an instrumental part of the state office community outreach efforts. For more than six years, she has worked hard to recruit and coordinate volunteers who will help make a difference in their communities. Helen has also served on numerous other AARP Virgin Islands teams and been active in many community organizations, including the Board of Elections, the Virgin Islands Lottery Drawing Board, American Federation of Teachers, and the Red Cross. She has found a great deal of satisfaction in her various positions at AARP and feels truly honored to have been chosen as the Virgin Islands 2007 Andrus Award Recipient for Community Service.
VIRGINIA, Ben Crawford
After earning two college degrees, Ben Crawford taught business and economics at Concord College and served as its director of the Center for Economic Action. Later, he taught management courses at West Virginia University and served as its director of Continuing Business Education. On leave from WVU, he held positions of increasing responsibilities in the West Virginia's Governor's Office. In the early 70's he became the Director of the National 4-H Center in Washington, DC. For 13 years, he was CEO of Ruritan National, a leading national civic-service organization. In 1993, he retired from Ruritan and joined Virginia Tech as a faculty member in their Institute for Leadership and Volunteer Development. Since his retirement, his rich academic background has helped make him an asset in his numerous civic and volunteer activities.
WASHINGTON, Verna Mac Donald
Verna Mac Donald, a civic leader in Westport, Washington, has done much to enhance the quality of life in her community. With her Congressman's help, she obtained a $125,000 federal grant to repair and improve Senior House, a local senior citizens center where she volunteers 30 hours a week. Because Westport is in a tsunami zone, she is currently trying to raise $15,000 for a gas generator to power Senior House for use during a natural disaster. Verna has also applied for federal money to build 48 housing units for low-income seniors. She is president of the South Beach AARP Chapter 4971, has started Alzheimer's and Grief Support group, and set up a support system of food and relief for local firefighters.
WEST VIRGINIA, Marge and Delmer Young
Marge & Delmer Young's record of achievement, service and commitment to their family and society is an extraordinary example of the difference that volunteerism can make in the lives of individuals and in the well being and vitality of a community. This team makes exciting and valuable contributions to the community. Together, they volunteer more than 210 hours each month helping eight different agencies/organizations. The most unusual characteristic about Marge and Delmer's volunteer work is the variety, magnitude and lasting impact they have had on all segments of their community. They lead by example and work along side the people they recruit, which is consistent with AARP's mission, vision and strategic direction.
WISCONSIN, Hank Hendrickson
AARP Wisconsin Advocacy Council member Henry (Hank) Hendrickson has for 12 years been a part of the AARP Wisconsin State Advocacy Council and never missed a meeting! He has assisted people in the complex area of Medicare Part D, and worked hard on Wisconsin SeniorCare, social programs and health care reform. Hank routinely adjusts his schedule to attend hearings, panels and forums on behalf of AARP and has served eight years on the Viroqua City Council, four as president. He was on the local school board for 30 years and spent seven of those as president. He is a member of the Great Generation World War II People as well as the VFW, American Legion and Honor Color Guard.
WYOMING, Bill Avery
Twenty-two years ago, Bill Avery retired from the workforce but not from serving his community. He chairs, organizes, and directs concerts in the park. He established and leads a hand-bell choir and sings in his church choir. He is the treasurer of the Wyoming Retired Education Personnel and spends 2.5 hours weekly in the classroom tutoring children, troubleshooting and supporting the teacher. When a critical measure within the Senate prompted the call to action with all eyes upon Wyoming's Senator Mike Enzi, it was Bill who persuaded Senator Enzi to cast the decision-maker for the Senate version of the Cash Balance Funds plan. Because of this and his legislative advocacy, economic security has been advanced and-indirectly-health and supportive services have benefited.
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