AARP Montana announced recently that Don and Clarice Walters of Bozeman have been selected to receive the 2011 Andrus Award for Community Service, the Association’s most prestigious volunteer award. This award is a symbol of the power of individuals to make a difference in the lives of others. As former educators, The Walters were nominated by colleague Karen Richardson, a former educator from Somers.
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The award was formally presented to The Walters at a ceremony in Anaconda on Sept. 20.
In presenting the award, AARP Montana State President Joy Bruck said “Don and Clarice Walters have always recognized the important role educators play in volunteering in the community, and always willing to remind everyone that AARP was founded by an educator, Ethel Percy Andrus. The Walters are a fitting tribute to the legacy of Ethel Percy Andrus’ motto – ‘to serve and not to be served’.”
The Walters have been active in the Montana Retired Educators Association (MREA) and AARP community for many years. They have worked tirelessly to improve both organizations while serving in key leadership roles including Don serving as President and Clarice serving as the secretary of MREA. They were appointed as the first executive directors of MREA and continued their service for another 10 years.
The Walters represented Montana at the national level as a delegate to the Association of Retired Teacher Executives, resulting in hosting the national convention in Montana. Both are well known true advocates for educators, children and representing the needs of all educators and their families. Both of the Walters are active in a variety of community organizations – Clarice served as state president of the American Association of University Women, president of Bozeman Lions club, and state legislative chair for Delta Kappa Gamma, served on the board for PBS, League of Women Voters and in her church. Don has served as Chaplain and Color Guard for American Legion Post #30, President of Bozeman Lions, and board member of the Belgrade Community Senior Center and the Area IV Agency on Aging.
Both have been active volunteers for AARP for many years playing a key role as liaisons for the offices of Senator Baucus and Tester in Bozeman and Washington DC carrying important messages about high cost of prescription drugs, affordable health care and access to doctors. Working with AARP and NRTA, The Walters volunteered to help at various national events, for example, one event in Atlanta where they recruited over 1,000 new members for AARP.
“The AARP Andrus award recognizes inspiring individuals who are making a positive difference in the lives of others, improving their community and encouraging others to volunteer,” said Bob Bartholomew, AARP Montana State Director. “Don and Clarice have been dynamic volunteers and are truly role models for community service whether it is in their home town, regionally, statewide or at the national level.”