AARP Pennsylvania selected Palmquist, 78, for his remarkable service, which has greatly benefited his community, reflected AARP’s vision and mission, and inspired other volunteers.
A Chicago native who has lived in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley for the past 40 years, Palmquist currently volunteers for nine nonprofit organizations, including AARP Pennsylvania, ACLU of the Lehigh Valley, the American Humanist Association, and the Lehigh Valley Humanists, where he works to increase diversity, equity and inclusion.
Palmquist’s storied career found him in everything from rescue helicopters for the U.S. Navy, to sales, to teaching in museums and at the college level.
Since his retirement in 2009, he has kept busy lobbying for nonprofit organizations, advocating for better walkways in his hometown, and teaching at the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center in West Chester, Pennsylvania, among other endeavors.
A key component of all his work is inclusion and diversity, and he bases much of his volunteering around being able to work with organizations that share his beliefs or are willing to work toward them with his help.
“I see American Society as knowing people across differences,” Palmquist says. “That’s a key driver for me. American life is changing, and to have acquaintances across differences is good for us. We are beneficiaries of a great society. Every generation works to make it better. Each of us is obligated to make this a better world and a better society.”
The award will be formally presented to Palmquist at a ceremony later this month.
“This award acts as a symbol to the public that we can all work together for positive social change,” says AARP State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh. “AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve.”
Recipients across the nation were chosen for their ability to enhance the lives of AARP members and prospective members, improve the community in or for which the work was performed, and inspire others to volunteer.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.