— By Enrique Rangel When retired Austin Municipal Judge John R. Vasquez hung up his robe two years ago, he didn’t see himself living a life of leisure. “I didn’t want to be in my house all the time,” Vasquez, 62, said recently. “I wanted to give back to my community.” Two months after leaving the courthouse and moving to San Antonio, where he was born and raised, he found his calling as an AARP volunteer. “I’ve gotten involved more and …

— By Ellen Chang Mari Okabayashi, of Houston, has volunteered with AARP at state legislative sessions, congressional and city council hearings, and community events. She has advocated for defending Social Security, making Houston more walkable, limiting payday lending fees, helping older people avoid becoming victims of fraud, and opposing utility rate hikes. She also serves as a Texas Silver-Haired Legislator for Harris County. “Volunteering for AARP allows me to meet so many of our seniors,” said Okabayashi, 67. “I get to …

— It’s that time of year, folks! It’s time to celebrate and recognize our outstanding volunteers during National Volunteer Week. In Texas, we’d like to highlight several outstanding folks who have gone above and beyond for their communities. Without the help of our committed volunteers, our Texas communities would not be the same. From CAREversation family caregiver support groups to Fraud Watch Network shredding events, from volunteering with AARP Tax-Aide to help neighbors file their returns to urging elected officials to …

— Retired Austin Municipal Judge John Vasquez, now a San Antonio resident, is the newest member of the AARP Texas Executive Council. Vasquez served as a municipal judge for nearly 20 years—from 1996-2015. A graduate of the University of Texas School Of Law, he was elected chair of the Municipal Judges Section of the State Board of Texas. He has served as special counsel to the state auditor and chief of the Charitable Trusts Section of the state attorney general’s office. …

— Though retired from a business management consulting career, Mari Okabayashi stays active as a champion for older persons and volunteer for AARP in Houston. This month, Okabayashi accepted a two-year appointment to serve on the AARP Texas Executive Council. Executive Council members are appointed volunteers who work with AARP Texas staff and volunteers throughout the state to provide strategic guidance in support of AARP’s national strategies. For more than seven years, Okabayashi has been an AARP Texas volunteer. She’s been …

— Austin is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the nation, with a population of more than 930,000. Like other Texas cities, it’s car-focused, which means frequently long commutes and roadway congestion. Despite the daily traffic messes, public transit ridership has not increased significantly in recent years. Though it offers a robust transportation network of more than 360 buses, 82 bus routes, 220 vanpools, 171 paratransit vehicles, and a 32-mile rail line, Capital Metro passenger numbers are mostly stagnant, with …

— AARP Texas today announced that Olivia “Ollie” Besteiro has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 AARP Texas Andrus Award for Community Service. Named after AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus, the award is given in recognition of those who embody the association’s goal of bringing lifetimes of experience and leadership to serve all generations. Besteiro, an Austin resident and South Texas native, is a former long-time public school teacher and state education association leader who has worked tirelessly as …

— As National Volunteer Month winds down, we salute the life and service of centenarian and former Andrus Award winner Frank Kormos of Dallas. In addition to being AARP’s oldest Texas volunteer, he has concurrently been an active member at his church and a block captain for his homeowner association in addition to other volunteer work. “The Andrus Award is presented to those remarkable people whose efforts and achievements have effected significant positive change,” said AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson said …

— Lydia Oliphant decided to try out volunteering with AARP in Houston at the recommendation of her friend’s daughter. Now, more than two years later, she’s pitched in a multitude of ways, including with Fraud Watch Network talks, walkability audits and events for family caregivers. “AARP’s mission of enhancing the age 50+ lifestyle and informing them of things that pertain to their interests is particularly important,” she says. That’s why her work focuses on helping members of the community find the …

— Volunteering is not out of the ordinary for Sunny Fitzwater; in fact, she grew up with it. From a young age, Sunny’s parents taught her the importance of volunteering, and she also instilled this value in her children. Each of them volunteer in their communities. At age 62, Sunny began volunteering with AARP occasionally. She was not too invested and was only involved from time to time. Then one day, she decided to research health insurance because she and her …