“When you get a group of people together who are willing to engage in an important activity, good things can happen.” —John Rosenberg
Anyone working to improve the quality of life in Kentucky has likely met John M. Rosenberg from Prestonsburg. His adopted hometown of 40-plus years is nestled off Highway 23 in the Appalachian Mountains.
Rosenberg is an attorney and the retired Founder and Director of Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky, Inc. (Appalred), a legal services program serving low income clients in 37 counties in eastern and south central Kentucky. He held this position for more than 31 years since Appalred’s launch in 1970 for more than 31 years. It’s here his life’s work has reached well beyond Floyd County to help countless numbers of disadvantaged Kentuckians.
Rosenberg’s personal history and professional life are remarkable, and what is extraordinary is his dedication in service to others and his genuine humility. Born into a family of a school teacher and lay leader of their synagogue at the height of anti-Semitism in Germany, his life has been shaped by challenges and opportunities.
Today, with his wife, Jean, he is now a full-time caregiver for his 90+ year old mother and their daughter. In 2009, his support in east Kentucky of AARP’s Health Action Now and Divided We Fail initiatives were significant and included guest editorials and local media interviews. He continues delivering strategic advice and advocacy supporting AARP’s state legislative agenda with a special focus on economic security. And his service as President of AARP Jenny Wiley Chapter # 3528 provided leadership and vision to grow their chapter and build new connections with community leaders and organizations.
The award ceremony was held in the East Kentucky Science Center in Prestonsberg. It was a fitting tribute to Rosenberg’s work as he was one of the key local organizers who landed the funding and resources to build the Center.
For many years, AARP Kentucky has treasured his commitment to “making the system work for people.” He is a tireless advocate for positive social change, consumers’ rights and economic justice. John Rosenberg has met life’s challenges with humor and humility and has helped in untold ways to “Create the Good.”
Learn more about simple ways you can give back in your hometown.
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