Frank Kormos has been an AARP member for 34 years and a dedicated AARP volunteer for 21 years. He first became involved in volunteer work with the Association when a Dallas area chapter president asked for his help. Since then, he has been an instructor and volunteer coordinator for the AARP Driver Safety Program.
As one of the program's marketing specialists, Kormos works to get more participants involved in courses.
"The class is about prevention," he says. "By teaching driver safety, I want to prevent people from getting hurt."
Kormos's love of automobiles and of teaching started at an early age.
Born to sharecropping farmers in Ellis County in 1914, his first language was Hungarian. This made his early school years challenging because classes were taught in English. Besides the language barrier, Kormos encountered another problem.
"I wasn't able to get to Corsicana High School because I didn't have transportation," Kormos says. "So I moved to Oklahoma to go to ministry school."
After graduating, however, Kormos knew he wanted to be a mechanic instead. With the financial help of a local hardware store owner, he attended diesel engineering school. In 1941, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he continued to receive formal education in the industry.
Kormos's teaching career also began during this time. He was an assistant instructor at a Georgia mechanic school, an experience which eventually motivated him to volunteer with driver safety education.
Soon Kormos transferred to Michigan to attend the General Motors Institute. While there he met his wife, Lois.
"A friend had a blind date with Lois, but could not go. Thankfully, I took his place."
The couple was married for 64 years before Lois' passing last March. They have nine grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.
While in the Army, Kormos traveled the world, serving in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. He retired from the Army as a major after five years of service followed by 15 years as a reservist.
During his civilian career, he was a teacher, farmer, salesman, mechanic and engineer. He spent most of his career in Dallas and retired at 70.
At age 96, Kormos is now AARP Texas' oldest volunteer, and he's still going strong. Along with his volunteer work with AARP, he is an active member at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, where he ushers on Sundays and participates in the church's men's club and the Knights of Columbus council. He’s also a block captain for his homeowner association, ensuring members have access to neighborhood information.
To get the word out about driver safety classes, Kormos uses cutting edge tactics as well as more traditional means. Recently, he's begun using Facebook to reach out to perspective students about the four-hour course, which accepts students of any age.
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