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AARP Arkansas honors volunteer leaders with 2015 awards


AARP Arkansas honors volunteer leaders with 2015 awards

HOT SPRINGS—Mary Dillard of Glen Rose is the 2015 recipient of the Andrus State Award for Community Service, AARP’s most prestigious and visible volunteer award.
Dillard, a past AARP Arkansas State President, received the award during AARP Arkansas’ 2015 Andrus Award and Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, held Wednesday evening in Hot Springs. Also presented Wednesday was AARP Arkansas’ 2015 Distinguished Service Award, to AARP Arkansas Lead Volunteer for Advocacy Charlie Wagener, who lives near Beebe.

The keynote remarks at the event were delivered by Eric Schneidewind, AARP’s national President-elect and a member of AARP’s all-volunteer national Board of Directors. Schneidewind praised AARP Arkansas volunteers for all they have accomplished in recent years to make Arkansas a better place, notably the key role played in securing continuation of the Private Option for affordable health care.
The Andrus Award is AARP’s most prestigious and visible volunteer award for community service. The award recognizes outstanding individuals who made their communities better in ways that are consistent with AARP’s mission, vision and commitment to volunteer service, and who inspire others to volunteer.
AARP’s commitment to volunteer service can be traced back to the life and vision of founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus. From the beginning, her motto, “To serve, not to be served,” has shaped AARP’s community service efforts at the national, state and local levels. The Andrus Award winner is nominated by his or her peers and the award recipient is chosen by a special selection committee consisting of AARP Arkansas volunteer leaders.
Mary Dillard has served as a leadership volunteer with AARP Arkansas since 2006. She served as State President, the top volunteer position in Arkansas, from 2009-11 and in 2012 was named to AARP’s National Policy Council, which makes policy recommendations on key issues to AARP’s national Board of Directors.
As State President, Mary effectively advocated on AARP’s behalf with members of the Arkansas Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C.; Arkansas state elected officials; and the Arkansas Legislature. She used her influence, professional reputation and expertise in politics, policy and organizational management to move AARP’s issues forward resulting in positive change in Arkansas and across the nation.

“Mary’s effectiveness in positions of leadership and her staunch commitment to AARP on the national and state levels have been demonstrated repeatedly,” said AARP State President Nan Selz. “She is unwavering in her support of AARP Arkansas.”

Because so many high-quality volunteers have historically been nominated for the Andrus Award, AARP Arkansas created the Distinguished Service Award and it is given to the nominee who is runner-up for the Andrus Award. As AARP Arkansas Lead Volunteer for Advocacy, Charlie Wagener manages and coordinates the team of AARP Arkansas volunteer advocates known as the “A-Team.”

Charlie has demonstrated consistent and outstanding volunteer leadership on issues that really matter to Arkansans 50+, from, as noted above by President-elect Schneidewind, continuing the Private Option for affordable health care and passing the Arkansas Lay Caregiver Act (Act 1013 of 2015) to fighting cuts to senior meals and supporting choices in long-term care.
“Charlie is an exceptional leader, coordinator, facilitator, manager and mentor, and excels in everything he does,” Selz said.

Also recognized during this year's event were all past winners of the Andrus Award and the Distinguished Service Award. Some volunteers have received both awards.

Andrus Awards:

  • Cecil Malone
  • Donald Waterworth Sr.
  • Billie Massey
  • Gerald Andrews
  • James Smalley
  • H.C. "Hank" Klein
  • Billie Ann Myers
  • Joe Petruk
  • Billie Dougherty
  • Jack Harris
  • The late Jerry Lancaster
  • The late Dr. Raymond Biondo

Distinguished Service Award

  • Maxine Biggers
  • Billie Massey
  • G. Hendrix
  • Dennis & Theresa Hutcherson
  • Dewery Watkins
  • David Baker
  • Bettye Carter Johnson
  • Billie Jean Dougherty
  • Leroy Williams
  • Dr. Diana Glaze
  • The late Curtis Lohrding (won twice)

More information about AARP Arkansas activities and the key role of our volunteers is available on the Web at; on Facebook at; and on Twitter @ARAARP

About AARP

A ARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as health care, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin;; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at

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