AARP Kansas congratulates long-time Wichita volunteer Dr. A.W. “Bill” Dirks, the 2011 recipient of the Andrus Award for Community Service in Kansas.
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The award, named after AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus, is the most prestigious award given by AARP to a community volunteer.
Each year, AARP presents the Ethel Percy Andrus Award for Community Service 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.
Dirks has made a significant difference in the lives of others through a variety of volunteer activities in his community and in the state over the last 20+ years.
He lobbied for the Wichita Area Retired Teachers for six years and helped to organize the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board (CURB) serving as an officer on that board since its inception. As an AARP volunteer, Dirks served on AARP’s National Legislative Committee (1992-1993). He served AARP Kansas as “Vote” Director, Legislative Committee Chair, Interim State President, and Federal Affairs Coordinator.
In addition to the Andrus Award, Dirks has been awarded the Merle Bolton Award for Volunteer Leadership (2004) and the Sonny Freeman Award for Advocacy Leadership (2008) for his service to AARP Kansas.
A World War II veteran, retired educator and administrator, Dirks has received many honors, including a Fulbright Scholarship (1962), Kansas Credit Union Volunteer of the Year (2005), and McPherson College Citation of Merit for Leadership and Service (1975), the highest honor given by that institution.
Dirks continues to be active in his community and church and enjoys traveling, having visited 42 different countries. He also enjoys reading and journal writing and spending time with his wife, June.
Dirks was presented the award by AARP Kansas Volunteer State President David Wilson, AARP Kansas Director Maren Turner and AARP Regional Volunteer Director for region 5 at an AARP volunteer luncheon in Wichita on Nov. 4.
“This award acts as a symbol to members and the public that we can all work together for positive social change,” said Wilson. “AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions AARP volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve. Bill Dirks certainly embodies that spirit.”