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Ten Who Inspire

Ten people, each with an inspiring story of community activism and public interest advocacy, were honored by AARP The Magazine with the 2009 Inspire Awards last night in Washington, D.C.

Winners were honored with family, friends and coworkers present during a reception and dinner tribute held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. They were introduced by Magazine editor Nancy Perry Graham and CBS sports announcer James Brown.

With the awards, AARP The Magazine recognizes “outstanding individuals who are using their energy, creativity and passion for action to make the world a better place.”

This is the sixth annual award ceremony. Each award winner shared highlights of his or her work, including musician and producer Quincy Jones, who recounted his youth in Chicago and the inspiration he received when he and acquaintances broke into a warehouse building and he discovered a piano. After surveying the list of awardees as well as the audience, he also provided his own assessment: “AARP is hot!”

These are the award winners:

Glenn Close, the actress and New York activist, who has embraced the effort to remove the stigma of mental disease.

Richard M. Cohen, a former CBS reporter and producer who has multiple sclerosis and has been a tireless advocate for people with chronic disease.

Martin Eakes, a Durham, N.C., entrepreneur who created a community credit union that since 1984 has provided $5.2 billion to 60,130 home buyers.

Katherine Freund, who has helped establish independent transportation networks that last year provided 30,000 rides to seniors in eight states.

Peter Gallagher, a film and Broadway veteran who witnessed his mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease and immersed himself in the search for a cure.

David E. Hayes-Bautista, a former community activist who is now director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at UCLA.

Quincy Jones, musician and entertainer who devotes his free time to the Quincy Jones Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at helping poor children throughout the world.

Susan Love, M.D., a California biologist and cofounder of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, who with the Avon Foundation launched the Army of Women Initiative to accelerate the search for a cure.

Rose Nakamura of Honolulu, who created Project Dana, which provides caregiving services for 1,000 older residents in Hawaii.

Alma Powell, a passionate advocate of children who chairs America’s Promise Alliance, a children’s aid organization she founded in 1997 with her husband, Gen. Colin Powell.

The 10 honorees for AARP the Magazine’s 2009 Inspire Awards embrace a variety of issues—including mental health, lending to the poor, Alzheimer’s and transportation for older people. Some of the names and faces are familiar. Others, not so much. But whether it’s award-winning actress Glenn Close or Latino health researcher David E. Hayes-Bautista, all of them are making a difference.

Watch highlights from the awards ceremony held on Dec. 8 and meet this year's winners.