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Ellis Woman Honored with Community Service Award

Opal Flinn of Ellis is the winner of the 2009 Andrus Award for Community Service, the most prestigious award given by AARP Kansas to a volunteer involved in community service activities in the state. The award is named after Ethel Percy Andrus, the founder of AARP, and is given to an individual or individuals who, through volunteer service, significantly enhance the lives of those in their community. This award symbolizes that individuals have the power and ability to make a difference in the lives of others.

Opal, who received the award in front of family, friends and participants in the Western Summit in Hays in October, has held almost every volunteer position in her AARP Chapter, Ellis #1403. By her leadership and example, she encourages others to get involved not only in chapter activities, but also in volunteer work for the community.

Opal has been heavily involved in her chapter’s AARP Day of Service activities, writing, producing and directing a skit performed by chapter members each year for residents of the Ellis Good Samaritan Center. She also is very involved in the chapter’s annual Milestone Dinner which honors community members who are celebrating 80th, 90th or 100th birthdays.

In addition, Opal’s work as a contributing writer for the Hays Daily News “Generations Page” highlights AARP issues and is viewed as a great source of information on issues that affect older Kansans. She and her husband, Jim, also serve on the Hays Daily News Senior Advisory Committee. Together, Opal and her husband are heavily involved in 4-H activities, in addition to Opal’s service on the Hays Medical Center Advisory Committee. Opal also makes sure to keep up on advocacy issues that affect older Kansans and contacts legislators and members of the Kansas congressional delegation to ensure that they understand how certain legislation affects AARP members.

“Opal is well-deserving of the award that honors AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus,” said David Wilson, AARP State Volunteer President who presented the award along with AARP National Board member Robert Romasco. “Her record of service to her community is exceptional and her work as a volunteer is impeccable.

“This award acts as a symbol to members and the public that we can all work together for positive social change. AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions AARP volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve.”

Opal was nominated for the Andrus Award by fellow AARP chapter members Sheila Barker and John Rupp, both of Ellis.

Nominations for the 2010 Andrus Awards will be accepted from March 2 through June 1, 2010. Be sure to check back then at for more information on nomination guidelines.

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