AARP Eye Center
AARP volunteer Kay Spear-Budd, 55, understands the importance of supporting Alaska’s veterans, which the U.S. Census Bureau counts at more than 60,000. After all, she is one. An officer with the U.S. Air Force’s Air National Guard, she retired after nearly 34 years of service.
With more than 10 percent of its adult residents having served, Alaska has the greatest number of veterans per capita in the U.S., according to Census Bureau statistics. AARP Alaska is working to support veterans in a variety of ways — including with the May formation of the Veteran Support Advisory Council. Spear-Budd serves as chair on the council.
Spear-Budd, of Anchorage, sees AARP as a “conduit for community engagement” in its veterans efforts. “They’re there to bring people to the table and talk about what’s available,” she says.
Among the veterans resources and events:
A four-part webinar series that shares eligibility requirements for various veteran service programs, long-term care options, service animal information, caregiver and fraud-prevention resources and other topics. Videos of the webinars, which were hosted by AARP Alaska in May, are at states.aarp.org/alaska/veteransseries.
Next year, AARP Alaska will sponsor the Arctic Thunder air show on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage the weekend of July 20–21, and the 2024 Honor Flight, which provides eligible Alaska veterans with a no-cost trip to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials honoring their service.
Spear-Budd says the air show is a huge celebration open to everyone, with aircraft on display, activities, food and resources.
“It’s a great opportunity for AARP to reach out to the community,” she says.
—Michelle Cerulli McAdams