Steve Polston – who has spent years helping the homeless in Lexington – is the 2015 winner of the AARP Kentucky Andrus Award for Community Service. And the New Life Day Center, a non-profit facility founded by Polston, is a big winner too – earning a $2,000 check from AARP Kentucky.
The Andrus Award – named after AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus – is given annually to an outstanding older Kentuckian who is making a powerful difference in his/her community through volunteer work.
“We are thrilled to recognize Steve Polston with the most celebrated volunteer award given by AARP,” said AARP Kentucky State Director, Ron Bridges. “Steve has spent an incredible amount of time and energy giving back to his community. His work embodies the motto of our founder, Dr. Andrus -- “to serve, not to be served.”
For almost four years, Steve has volunteered his time and skills for the New Life Day Center. He researched for years how to best serve his community before opening the Center, a daytime connecting point for the Lexington homeless. The Center helps get the homeless out of the weather and off of the street during the day, helps them find jobs and housing, and provides transportation, storage lockers, and access to computers and phones, among other things.
Steve is a great motivator and works with an all-volunteer staff. He is constantly in “fundraising mode” to keep the Center serving those in need. New Life has touched over 3,000 lives, averaging 150 clients off the street each day and 6,000 van trips a year. In addition to his work at the Center, Steve has served on numerous non-profit boards, including time as chairman of the Lighthouse Ministries and board chairman of Sleepless in Lexington.
“Steve Polston’s work in the Lexington community embodies the spirit of the AARP Andrus Award for Community Service”, said Jim Kimbrough, AARP Kentucky state president. “His incredible devotion to service can inspire us all.”
Lynn Hammack and Suzanne Reasback of Bardstown are also being honored as runners up for the Andrus Award. The pair founded Bardstown at Home in 2011. Bardstown At Home has brought together a team of volunteers, many seniors themselves, to address the needs of senior citizens in Nelson county so that they are able to remain safely in their own homes. They provide ttransportation to appointments, arrange activities such as lunches and other outings, change lightbulbs, install railings and grab bars, build wheelchair ramps, conduct food drives, balance checkbooks and a host of other activities. AARP Kentucky will donate $500 to their charity.
The AARP Andrus Award for Community Service recognizes members and volunteers who, through volunteer service, are significantly enhancing the lives of individuals age 50 and older. Recipients across the nation were chosen for their ability to enhance the lives of AARP members and prospective members, improve communities, and inspire others to volunteer.