A passion for service is the essence of volunteering. This year’s AARP Andrus Award for Community Service recipient in Oregon has built his professional and personal life around service to others. Curtis Hanson, of Happy Valley, was presented with AARP’s most prestigious and visible volunteer award at a special ceremony during the state’s annual Driver Safety Program Leadership banquet.
Named after AARP founder, Ethel Percy Andrus, this award symbolizes an individual’s power and ability to make a difference in the lives of others.
An AARP Oregon review committee selected Hanson for his remarkable service and impact he’s had on the lives of others and on his community. Hanson is a volunteer Instructor, zone coordinator and chief trainer with the Oregon AARP Driver Safety Program. He joined the program in 2003. During a 30-year career at the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Hanson served in many capacities, including as a traffic and boat safety education officer and retired as chief deputy of the Enforcement Division.
Hanson’s’ professional experiences inspired his dedication to AARP’s Driver Safety Program, now 41 years old.
“I worked some bloody wrecks, so if I can just help somebody not be there that’s the goal. When you get folks who’ve been on the road for a long time to start thinking about their driving again it makes a difference,” Hanson said.
Hanson has taught 86 classes, trained and mentored dozens of new instructors, and shared his expertise with thousands of students and peers alike. His knowledge about driving laws, resources, and procedures are invaluable, according to Kathleen Lewis, who was trained by Hanson and nominated him for the award.
“Curtis is a role model—he inspires, leads by example and believes passionately in what he does and why,” Lewis noted.
In addition to his volunteer roles with AARP, Hanson has been a leader in many other local organizations. He currently serves on the boards of the Destroyer Leader Association, a U. S. Naval retirees’ group, and the Al Kader Shurtah (law enforcement) Club. He’s also involved with the Portland Actors Ensemble, a community theatre group specializing in Shakespearean plays. In 2009, Hanson played the title role in PAE’s production of “King Lear,” one of the 60+ plays in which he has appeared since 1964.
“Curtis embodies volunteerism, not only is he involved with AARP and several other groups, but he gives 110 percent to all of them,” said Ray Miao, AARP Oregon Volunteer State President. “This award really says ‘the community thinks you are among the best of the best.’ It is so fitting that we bestow this year’s award to Curtis, who clearly exemplifies AARP’s belief in community service. We were impressed with high caliber of all nominees this year.”
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