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November 14, 2003 - Seniors Revel in Their Moment
What: AARP Colorado Volunteer Thanksgiving 2003
Where: Arvada Center
When: November 14, 2003
Executive Director: Jon Looney
Staff: Kelli Fritts,, Terri Ryan, Morie Kiusalaas; Laura Bauman, Audrey Duman, Jeremiah Mora
Welcome: Joel Edelman
Quote of the evening: At my age, I sometimes have trouble tying my shoes. Nevertheless in trying to be as productive as possible, I try to find something else to do while I'm down there.
Fay Strauss holds her award as she talks about the AARP program she's involved with.
The old adage is slightly wrong; in addition to the two things that everyone knows are a given, you can now add a third: AARP. Since we're all generally headed in that direction anyway, it was a real treat to observe the Volunteer Thanksgiving.
Like most organizations, AARP wouldn't thrive without active and proficient volunteers. Unlike some organizations AARP seems to be blessed with an abundance of those willing and able to serve.
The Colorado chapter has only been active for 10 years but they count over 600,000 Coloradoans as members! That's a healthy percentage of the entire Colorado population.
Attendees met at the Arvada center. They came from all over the state to laud their fellow members. AARP members are tackling a number of contentious issues including healthcare, prescription medicine, telemarketing and fraud in general.
An inspirational address was given by Betty Turner who is a national AARP board member and the first female mayor of Corpus Christi. She told a humorous story about throwing out a pitch in the Astrodome but having it end up at 3rd base instead of home plate. Her point was that when you start out you don't always know where you'll end up but that the volunteer effort in AARP and elsewhere is worth it.
A number of awards were handed out. Lew Lachman received the 2003 Program Award for his Caring Conversations. The Denver Housing Authority was recognized for their work in training seniors for work and providing housing assistance. Albert Morris received the Outstanding Volunteer Award and Mike McGuire received the Advocate of the Year award. As a relative newcomer to AARP this was equivalent to being the "rookie of the year." Bill Shultz received the Special Recognition Award.
Naturally the organization relies on help from the community. Receiving Outstanding Community Partner Awards were Mindy Vasquez of the Pikes Peak Work Force, and David Bailey and Leslie Andrews from the Bailey Company. Chuck Mabry and Karen Morgan from the Norlarco Credit Union in Fort Collins were also honored. Ken Wagner manager of the Safeway Ft. Collins was also on hand to be recognized as was Brian Long from Gib's New York Bagels.
Receiving the Prestigious Community Service Awards were Bill Driscoll, Rocky Williams, Ruth Baer, Mary Applehans and Nina Williams. The Chapter News Flash Team of Leo Hamel and May Anderson were recognized for their work on the newsletter.
The coveted Volunteer of the Year award went to the diminutive but powerful Fay Strauss. Leo Hamel received the Andrus Award and Ellen Long received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
There is always a good natured rivalry to be recognized as Outstanding Chapter of the Year. In 3rd place, or as Joel Edelman said, "2nd runner up" was the Brighton Chapter #1226. In 2nd place (or "first runner up") was Chapter #3293 from Prowers County. The Outstanding Chapter of the Year was Chapter #1158 from Westminster.
For this group in particular, they are not getting older, they're getting better.