AARP Seeks The State’s Top Volunteer Over Age 50

Posted on 05/16/24


AARP is now accepting nominations for its 2024 Wyoming Andrus Award for Community Service, which honors age 50+ Wyomingites who are sharing their experience, talent, and skills to enrich the lives of their community members.

To submit your nomination for the Andrus Award, click here. 

“AARP Wyoming is excited to shine a light on age 50+ Wyomingites who are using what they’ve learned in life to make a difference in the lives around them,” said AARP Wyoming State Director Sam Shumway. “Nominations will be evaluated by The Wyoming State Office and ultimately the public based on how the volunteer’s work has improved the community, reflected AARP’s vision and mission, and inspired other volunteers.”

The Andrus Award is named for AARP Founder Ethel Percy Andrus and is AARP’s most prestigious and visible volunteer award. It recognizes individuals who are sharing their experience, talent, and skills to enrich their communities in ways that are consistent with AARP’s purpose, vision, and commitment to volunteer service, and that inspire others to volunteer.

The award recipient will be announced in early fall and the winner and their family invited to an award ceremony in Sheridan as part of AARP Wyoming’s annual volunteer summit.

AARP Wyoming Andrus Award for Community Service nominees must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Nominee must be 50 years or older.
  • The achievements, accomplishments, or service on which the nomination is based must have been performed on a volunteer basis, without pay. Volunteers receiving small stipends to cover the costs associated with the volunteer activity are eligible.
  • The achievements, accomplishments, or service on which the nomination is based must reflect AARP’s vision and purpose.
  • The achievements, accomplishments, or service on which the nomination is based must be replicable and provide inspiration for others to volunteer.
  • Partisan political achievements, accomplishments or service may not be considered.
  • Couples or partners who perform service together are also eligible; however, teams are not eligible.
  • Previous Andrus Award recipients are not eligible.
  • This is not a posthumous award.

Please contact Jennifer Baier for further information and a nomination form. The application deadline is July 15, 2024.
Past Winners

  • Sheridan’s Judy Hayworth was AARP Wyoming’s 2023 Andrus Award winner after volunteering all over her native Sheridan County. At The WYO Theater Judy is an usher, a ticket, taker, and cleaner of the theater. As a part of the Sheridan Memorial Hospital’s Auxiliary, last year she helped decorate 18 Christmas trees located at the hospital, as well as medical clinics; helped with mailings for the hospital, such as Christmas cards; and helped plan the annual five year old birthday party. As a volunteer in the Sheridan Memorial Hospital’s surgical waiting room, she gets coffee, makes calls on behalf of the families at the hospitals, and even brings goodies. As a volunteer for CASA, Hayworth is assigned to work with children from the time they enter the legal system until they are, hopefully, reunited with their families. That means being a friend, a lunch partner, a sports fan and a source of strength.
  • 2022 AARP Wyoming Andrus Award Winner Bernadette. “Bernie” Horst is a familiar face around Albany County, volunteering at The Albany County Library, The Wyoming Women’s Club; the Laramie Plains Museum, and Wyoming Women’s History Museum. Horst is perhaps best known for her work at the Eppson Center, where she remains active at the Eppson Center where she volunteers to update the grounds of the center by doing landscaping and decorating tables according to a monthly theme. For ten years, Horst has been a member of the Home Delivered Meals, delivering warm meals to those who are homebound or not able to cook for themselves. The University of Wyoming’s St. Paul Newman’s Center benefits from Horst’s efforts as she bakes snacks for students as they study for finals, contributes desserts for some Sunday night dinners St. Newman’s hosts for students.Horst also volunteers with the Laramie Women’s Club, The Wyoming Women’s History House, and PEO.
  • In 2021, Torrington’s Paul Novak was named the AARP Wyoming Andrus Award winner for his better than 40 years on the Goshen Care Center Joint Powers Board of Directors. Since joining the Joint Powers Board, Novak has been a driving force in helping Torrington build a 24-unit Independent Living Facility; a skilled nursing home and dementia care unit with 75 rooms; and a 30-room assisted living facility, which opened in October of 2021. An extremely impressive array of care options and housing for older adults in a community of 6,700 residents.
  • Don Cushman was the 2020 AARP Wyoming Andrus Award winner. After retiring 15 years ago, Cushman took a trip to Mississippi with the Presbytery of Wyoming to help repair homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina. That experience led Cushman to make a commitment to work more consistently with Habitat for Humanity in Teton County. Cushman began driving the 55 miles each way, often twice a week (4,500 miles) to build sites in Teton County, which has culminated in its current effort, a five-year, six-building run. He has been named the Turnkey Award - given to the volunteer with the highest number of volunteer hours on a project - numerous times, and was named Habitat’s Lee Kuntz Volunteer of The Year Award winner for the Rocky Mountain Region in 2016. 
  • The 2019 Andrus Award winners, Karen and Walter Jones, spend their retirement years volunteering with the National Park Service in Grand Teton National Park. For four months out of the year, the Jones’ live in their camper and devote their time to ensuring that the visitors of the park have a fulfilling and educational visit. Their duties with the park include talks about bear safety, animal information, and cultural history. They can be found answering questions at the desk or out on the hiking trails.
  • When the rules committee was making up those rules, it almost seems they had 2018 Andrus Award Winner, Kay Bjorklund of Thermopolis, in mind. Well into her 90’s, Kay remained a Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, welcoming new businesses to Thermopolis, as well as program director for her Kiwanis Club, lining up speakers for the club’s twice-monthly meetings. One week a month you can find Kay delivering Meals on Wheels to Thermopolis residents. Each weekend she is acting activities director for The Pioneer Home, where she lines up Wii Bowling tournaments and shuffleboard. Kay would also mention she carries a 231 average on Wii bowling. If that isn’t enough, she also volunteers one day a week in the gift shop of the hospital in Thermopolis, and works with the doorstep ministry of her church.
  • Clayton and Gloria Jensen were honored as winners of the 2017 Andrus Award by AARP Wyoming. The Jensens are the coaches at the Casper Boxing Club in Casper where they have gained a reputation for changing the lives of at-risk young men and women. The mission of Casper Boxing Club is to promote sportsmanship, responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and individuality through education, dedication, desire, and a commitment to maximize excellence. The program seeks to use the mind and body as a catalyst to bring about change, creating an environment to reach youth who others may have written off as unreachable. 

ABOUT AARPAARP 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 or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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

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