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Champions of Aging - Americans Who Protected Seniors Skip to content

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Champions of Aging

Here are 10 Americans who helped to build a nation that respects and protects its oldest citizens

  • Older Americans Hall of Fame

    Our Hall of Fame

    They came from divergent backgrounds but shared a common cause: fighting for the interests, rights, financial security and overall well-being of older Americans. Learn more about these movers and shakers in this virtual hall of fame.

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  • Ethel Percy Andrus, founder of AARP, Older Americans, Hall of Fame

    Ethel Percy Andrus

    The founder of AARP was an educator who never stopped teaching. Read Andrus' story.

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  • Robert M. Ball, creation of the Medicare, Older Americans, Hall of Fame
    Courtesy of the Social Security Administration

    Robert M. Ball

    The lifelong civil servant (pictured upper right) oversaw the creation of the Medicare system in the mid-1960s, which may have been the largest government undertaking since D-Day. Read Ball's story.

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  • Warren Blaney, Founder of Senior Olympics, Older Americans, Hall of Fame
    Courtesy of Worth Blaney

    Warren W. Blaney

    Many compete in the Senior Olympics, but few can name the movement’s founder (pictured far right).
    Read Blaney's story.

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  • Dr. Robert Butler, CEO of the International Longevity Center USA, fought discrimination against older Americans, Older Americans, Hall of Fame
    Courtesy of the International Longevity Center USA

    Robert N. Butler

    Butler was raised by his grandparents, became a doctor and fought prejudice and discrimination against older Americans. Read Butler's story.

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  • Elma Holder, cofounder of National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform , Older Americans, Hall of Fame
    Jim Harrison/The Heinz Awards

    Elma Holder

    Are nursing homes "over-regulated?" she asked rhetorically. "Well, are the schools in your town over-regulated?" Read Holder's story.

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  • Lyndon B. Johnson, legislation for Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act, Older Americans, Hall of Fame
    Keystone/Getty Images

    Lyndon B. Johnson

    The son of a failed cotton farmer engineered the passage of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act. Read Johnson's story.

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  • Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Gray Panthers, Older Americans, Hall of Fame
    Alain Keler/Sygma/Corbis

    Maggie Kuhn

    The Gray Panthers founder weighed only 95 pounds but packed a big punch as a crusading activist. Read Kuhn's story.

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  • Patrick V. McNamara, Senator, fought for Medicare, Older Americans, Hall of Fame
    Ed Clark/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Patrick V. McNamara

    As a senator, the one-time pipefitter helped lead the charge for Medicare. Read McNamara's story.

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  • Florida U.S. Representative Claude Pepper, office, Washington, D.C., Older Americans, Hall of Fame
    Shepard Sherbell/Saba/Corbis

    Claude Pepper

    Mr. Senior Citizen’s concern for those in need may have grown out of his own early struggles. Read Pepper's story.

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  • Edwin E.Witte the father of Social Security
    Wisconsin Historical Society

    Edwin E. Witte

    Witte, raised in hardscrabble Wisconsin, invented Social Security, the program that millions of retirees depend on. Read Witte’s story.

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