Long-Time Florida Volunteer Leader Honored with Top AARP Award

Posted on 11/17/20

A longtime Boca Raton community leader and volunteer has received AARP Florida’s top award for volunteer community service. 

Boca Raton resident Ken Thomas has received AARP Florida’s 2020 Andrus Award for Community Service, according to Jeff Johnson, the organization’s Florida state director. 

Ken Thomas, AARP Florida Andrus Award winner

“Ken brings to life the words of AARP’s founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, who said that the greatest purpose in life for those 50 and older is ‘to serve, not be served,’” Johnson said. ” With this motto in mind, AARP Florida honors one outstanding individual each year with the State Andrus Award for Community Service, AARP’s most distinguished award for volunteerism."

Thomas, 66, has embraced a life of volunteerism supporting multiple causes. After retiring from 36 years in the Federal Aviation Administration, Thomas turned his attention to Guardian ad Litem in 2003 to mentor children. In 2010, Thomas added volunteering for AARP Florida to his portfolio of volunteer activities, taking on weighty topics such as advocating on AARP’s complex priorities including protecting Social Security and Medicare.

“Ken is also a U.S. Air Force Veteran who embodies the tenets of continued selfless service through his dedication and leadership,” said Johnson. “Over the years, he’s taken on several impactful roles and his skill and aspirational style placed him as a Regional Volunteer Director where he has an even wider impact through his work in multiple states.”

Thomas continued his pursuit to help adults 50-plus by becoming qualified as a Driver Safety Instructor and for two years, served on Florida’s Executive Council from 2013-2015 helping guide the outreach efforts for the state’s AARP volunteer corps. His other volunteer work involves working with the League of Women Voters and outreach with the Tuskegee Airmen of South Florida where he received the honorary title of Tuskegee Airman.

“Ken Thomas is my idea of a consummate volunteer,” said Carol Smith of Coral Springs and Thomas’ recommender for the Andrus Award. “His organizational skills combined with compassion for people inspires all ages to grow and develop their own skills. He exemplifies service and has touched many lives.”

The AARP State Andrus Award for Community Service symbolizes an individual’s power to make a positive difference in the lives of others through volunteerism, an act that AARP has always valued. The announcement identifying Thomas for the award will be held virtually near the end of the year with all of AARP Florida volunteers.

The Andrus Award for Community Service is awarded to those who greatly enhance the lives of others, aged 50 and above. Honorees must be 50 years or older and the achievements, accomplishments or service on which the nomination is based must have been completed without pay and must reflect AARP’s vision and mission. Beginning in 2002, this annual award honors those who make a valuable contribution to our society.

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