Sign up for our twice-monthly Your Health newsletter for the latest on the coronavirus pandemic and more.
by Blair S. Walker, AARP Bulletin, November 1, 2009
A former “scaredy-cat” who never drove after dark, 76-year-old Joan Gaudet now thinks nothing of heading out into snowstorms at 2 a.m. to support America’s fighting men and women.
Since 2003, Gaudet has been making 24-mile round trips between her home in Bradley, Maine, and Bangor International Airport to meet with soldiers headed for, or returning from, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Gaudet and two other volunteers with the nonprofit Maine Troop Greeters are featured in a 90-minute documentary to air on PBS’ POV series on Nov. 11 (9 p.m. ET, check local listings). The Way We Get By is an award-winning film about aging directed by Gaudet’s son, Aron.
Joan Gaudet ignores a bad back to meet troops, because “you can tell they really appreciate it,” she says. Outgoing flights tend to be tough emotionally for Gaudet, who had two grandchildren serving in Iraq before they returned home safely.
Blair S. Walker, who frequently writes for the AARP Bulletin, lives in Miami.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
You'll start receiving the latest news, benefits, events, and programs related to AARP's mission to empower people to choose how they live as they age.
You can also manage your communication preferences by updating your account at anytime. You will be asked to register or log in.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at