Andrus Award Seeks Nominations to Celebrate Community Volunteers
Thursday, August 11, 2022
AARP Wyoming is accepting nominations for its 2022 Andrus Award for Community Service, which honors older Wyomingites who are sharing their experience, talent and skills to enrich the lives of their community members.
Jennifer Baier, community outreach manager for AARP Wyoming, said because many dedicated volunteers are reluctant to take credit, it is up to friends and neighbors to put their name in the hat to honor their efforts.
"Staffing the food banks, putting on events for veterans, and they're not getting any money, they're doing this because they want to make a difference in their community," Baier explained. "It's really important to stop and take the time to recognize and thank those individuals."
If your nominee is chosen, you will receive $500 to donate to a charity of your choice. Previous award recipients include Karen and Walter Jones, who spend their retirement years volunteering in Grand Teton National Park, educating visitors about bear safety, animal information and cultural history.
Kay Bjorklund won the award in 2018 for delivering Meals on Wheels to Thermopolis residents. Each weekend, she also lines up Wii Bowling tournaments and shuffleboard at an assisted-living facility.
Baier noted Clayton and Gloria Jensen were tapped in 2017 for coaching at-risk youth at the Casper Boxing Club.
"We've had winners who have built senior living facilities, volunteering their time," Baier pointed out. "We've had people who have helped repair homes after Hurricane Katrina, who lived in Wyoming and then headed out and helped people rebuild."
The award is named after AARP's founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, whose motto was "to serve, not to be served." Baier noted her legacy, and the annual award, helps keep the group's focus on community service at the national, state and local levels.
"She found her friend living in a chicken coop without health insurance and spurred her on to start the National Retired Teacher Association and AARP," Baier recounted. "She herself was a volunteer, she never took a dime of pay for all of her time with AARP."
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