AARP Kansas has announced the winners of its top awards for volunteers, community partners and state legislators who work with and advocate on behalf of Kansans who are 50 and older. Winners of the awards were announced June 27 at a luncheon at Century II in Wichita.
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The winner of the AARP Community Partner Award was presented to Annette Graham, Executive Director of the Central Plains Area Agency on Aging in recognition of her organization’s work on a top AARP priority issue or issues. Graham and her agency have worked with AARP Kansas on numerous projects in the Wichita area to help older adults remain in their homes and communities.
AARP presented its Merle Bolton Award for Leadership named in honor of the first AARP Kansas Volunteer State President to Gerald and Dianna Schmitt of Wichita. The award is presented to a volunteer or volunteers who best exemplify the leadership qualities demonstrated by Bolton. The Schmitts have been statewide lead advocacy volunteers for numerous years and have also served as leaders on community services projects.
AARP volunteer Eleanor McMindes of Hays received the AARP Kansas Sonny Freeman Award for Advocacy Service. The Sonny Freeman Award recognizes outstanding AARP volunteers who are making powerful differences in their communities in ways that are consistent with AARP’s mission, vision, and strategic direction and that inspire others to service. McMindes, received the Sonny Freeman award for her leadership in coordinating and communicating AARP’s advocacy agenda and issues in her community and other areas of the state.
The AARP Kansas Sonny Freeman Awards for Advocacy were also presented to two Kansas Legislators. Senator Vicki Schmidt and Senator Dwayne Umbarger each received an award for their work to improve the quality and level of nursing care received by residents of Kansas nursing homes.
“AARP extends its congratulations and gratitude to the recipients of these awards. Their work on behalf of Kansans serves to make our state a better place to live for those who are 50 and older and those in future generations as well,” said Turner.