Three special awards — Driver Safety Instructor of the Year, Tax Aide Volunteer of the Year and the Legacy Award — were presented recently at the AARP Oklahoma Volunteer Celebration Luncheon.
Oklahoma City resident John Palinksy was named the 2013 AARP Oklahoma Driver Safety Instructor of the Year.
John was the first district coordinator appointed in Oklahoma. In his leadership and dedication to Oklahoma Driver Safety, John has assumed the duties of two exceptionally creative projects We Need to Talk and CarFit.
He is the chief facilitator of We Need to Talk – a seminar that gives practical tips and guidance on how to recognize the warning signs and develop a plan to begin talking about driving retirement. Additionally, it provides participants with information on local alternative transportation resources to help keep older persons independent and mobile, when driving is no longer a safe option.
John is also the chief facilitator of the CarFit program – an educational program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them.
He has taught more than 30 Driver Safety classes this year, established three new hosts for classes and interviewed eight new instructor candidates.
John is a team player, adopts new ideas, is motivated and has a positive influence on others.
The 2013 AARP Oklahoma Tax-Aide volunteer of the year is David Franklin.
David has been a volunteer and leader in Tax-Aide for over 30 years. He was instrumental in establishing an innovative one day, off-site Tax-Aide location in Cushing that allowed area residents to receive tax help without traveling to Stillwater. In addition, the current 20 Tax Aide volunteers in Stillwater can trace their involvement in the program to David or to someone that David recruited.
Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest, free volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance service for low and moderate income taxpayers.
In 2013, 362 Tax-Aide volunteers assisted 30,401 Oklahomans with their tax returns at 40 sites throughout the state. This equated to more than $16.7 million in total refunds and more than $3.6 million in earned-income tax credit.
The Legacy Award, which recognizes a volunteer who has worked with AARP Oklahoma at least five years and has propelled the success of the state office’s strategic direction, was given posthumously to Tillman Ryser.
Tillman was a state volunteer and left an indelible mark on all those whose lives he impacted. He started as a Driver Safety instructor in 1999 and was District Coordinator for Driver Safety from 2001 to 2009. He served as State Coordinator from 2009 until his death on October 11th, 2013.