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AARP Honors 2019 Andrus Award Recipient and Recognizes Volunteers’ Outstanding Community Service

Posted on 11/12/19

OK Andrus Award Rita Walker

Rita Walker, Tulsa, Okla., received the 2019 AARP Oklahoma Andrus Award for Community Service at the AARP Oklahoma Volunteer Celebration and Andrus Award luncheon in Oklahoma City on November 7, 2019. Walker was one of six Andrus Award nominees recognized at the AARP Oklahoma Volunteer Celebration and Andrus Award luncheon in Oklahoma City.


The Andrus Award for Community Service is named in honor of AARP founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus and is the highest honor presented by AARP. Dr. Andrus was a champion for all generations who believed, as AARP believes today, that all generations in America must be connected by a strong commitment to values, community and service. Like Dr. Andrus, the AARP Oklahoma honorees and volunteers recognized for their work exemplify her legacy of service to others.


This year’s honoree, Rita Walker, is a shining example of the power our volunteers have to make their communities better in ways that reflect AARP’s mission,” said Sean Voskuhl, AARP OK state director.

For the past seven years, Walker has volunteered more than 3,000 hours at Cancer Treatment Center of America in Tulsa. Although there are more than 100 active volunteers at Cancer Treatment Center of America, Ms. Walker is considered one of the most treasured volunteers in the program. She works two days a week at Cancer Treatment Center and many employees deem her the "glue that keeps us together." Ms. Walker eases the burdens of cancer patients as they fight sickness, fear and worry. Ms. Walker inspires many, including patients who witness her work and then feel compelled to volunteer in their communities even while battling cancer.

Others recognized as 2019 Andrus Award finalists include nominees Deanna Lawson of Broken Arrow, LaJuan Lewis of Oklahoma City, Marina Metevelis of Tulsa, Dorothy Osburn of Guthrie and Pauline Shea of Bartlesville.

Also recognized during the 2019 AARP Oklahoma Volunteer Celebration and Andrus Award luncheon:

  • AARP Tax-Aide Volunteer of the Year, Byron Bowman
  • AARP Drivers Safety Volunteer of the Year, Michael Kruck
  • AARP Oklahoma Legacy Award, Johanna Graham
  • AARP Oklahoma Care Champion Award, Ashley Izbicki. This award recognizes a member of the local media whose reporting has made profound impact on the lives of Oklahomans age 50 plus.
  • Outstanding community work by the AARP Oklahoma Fraud Fighters, volunteers focused on multicultural outreach, advocacy, aging in place experts and the Senior Community Service and Community Employment Project.

Three AARP Oklahoma Chapters celebrating milestone anniversaries include;

  • Northwest Tulsa Chapter #4411 - 30 years of service
  • Pittburg County Chapter #1867 - 45 years of service
  • Sand Springs Chapter #0542 - 50 years of service

Additionally, eight AARP Oklahoma chapters received the Pinnacle Award, which the highest award given to chapters. Chapters recognized include;

  • Ardmore Chapter #2217
  • Claremore Chapter #3521
  • Custer County Chapter #1258
  • Northeast Oklahoma City Chapter #4235
  • Northwest Tulsa Chapter # 4411
  • Pittsburg Chapter #1867
  • Shawnee Chapter #2654
  • Weatherford Chapter #2373

AARP Oklahoma State President Joe Ann Vermillion praised the volunteers who give so freely of their time and talents. “We honor you. Your work, your dedication and your willingness to serve and not to be served,” she said.

This story is provided by AARP Oklahoma. Visit the AARP Oklahoma page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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