Maybe you’ve heard the story. Retired educator, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus discovered a retired teacher friend living in a chicken coop because she had no pension. That’s how the National Retired Teacher’s Association (NRTA) began more than 60 years ago, and ultimately lead to the founding of AARP more than 50 years ago.
It’s a story Dennis and Shirley Eisnach, of Pierre, SD have heard time and again in their two decades as volunteers for AARP and the South Dakota Retired Teachers Association (SDRTA). The couple recently had an opportunity to meet Dr. Andrus’s two great-nieces. Here’s Shirley’s account of the experience:
“After almost twenty years of hearing (and repeating) the story of Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus finding a retired teacher friend living in a chicken coop because she had no pension, and Dr. Andrus fighting for pensions for retirees, it was truly a thrill for Dennis and me, to meet Dr. Andrus’s two great-nieces at the Life@50+ event in Las Vegas this May.
We attended Dr. Lily Liu’s session about the cultural differences in caregiving. After the session, we greeted Lily whom we have gotten to know in recent years through our association with NRTA and AARP. Dr. Liu wanted us to meet two very special guests –great-nieces of Dr. Andrus, Barbara Stanton and her sister Sandy from Hawaii. Dr. Liu is an “expert” on the life of Dr. Andrus; so it came as no surprise to hear the nieces say that Lily knows details about their family that even they don’t know! One of the nieces told us she was 21 years old when Dr. Andrus died; so they do remember her well.” – Shirley Eisnach, SDRTA Volunteer
Dennis and Shirley have been valuable contributors to SDRTA and AARP in South Dakota. Both served as Government Affairs volunteers before the state office opened in 2001. Dennis is currently the volunteer state president for AARP South Dakota, and is also a member of AARP’s National Policy Council (NPC), a group of advisors to the all volunteer AARP Board of Directors. Shirley is a past-president of SDRTA, and former member of the AARP Executive Council. Dennis and Shirley received the 2007 AARP South Dakota Andrus Award for Outstanding Community Service in honor of Dr. Andrus, and continue dedicating countless hours to AARP South Dakota’s advocacy, educational, and community service work.