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Phillip King of Cheshire Receives AARP’s Highest Volunteer Honor in Connecticut

Phillip King with Nora Duncan

AARP Connecticut is pleased to announce Phillip King of Cheshire has been selected to receive the 2022 Andrus Award for Community Service, the Association’s most prestigious state volunteer award, for his outstanding volunteerism and commitment to the community. Mr. King, a long-time Gaylord Specialty Healthcare volunteer, was presented with the Andrus Award at a ceremony on November 9, 2022.

In addition to the recognition, AARP Connecticut donates $3,000 on behalf of the Andrus recipient to an eligible non-profit organization of their choosing. Mr. King selected Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, a nonprofit rehabilitation-focused healthcare system headquartered in Wallingford, as the recipient.

The AARP State Andrus Award for Community Service is an annual awards program developed to honor individuals whose service is a unique and valuable contribution to society. The award is named for AARP founder, Ethel Percy Andrus, whose motto “to serve, not to be served” continues to shape our work years after she founded this association to help older Americans age with dignity and purpose.

Phillip King
Phillip King

“Phil represents AARP’s value of empowerment,” said Nora Duncan, AARP Connecticut State Director. “He looks at the abilities of the patients he volunteers for, not their disabilities. He strives to help them become independent and he does it all with enthusiasm and a smile. It’s an honor to present him with AARP Connecticut’s most prestigious award for community service.”

For nearly a dozen years, Mr. King has volunteered as a patient transport volunteer at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare. A source of boundless energy, Mr. King brings wheelchair-bound patients who are recovering from life-altering illnesses and injuries from their hospital rooms to their therapy sessions and appointments and back.

Three years ago, Mr. King – an accomplished artist - volunteered to direct Gaylord’s Creative Expressions adaptive art program and has since introduced many people with permanent disabilities to the therapeutic benefits of painting and drawing. Last year, Mr. King logged nearly 600 volunteer hours, the most accrued among the hospital’s 50 volunteers.

Sonja LaBarbera, President and CEO of Gaylord Specialty Healthcare said, “Phil is very aware that many Gaylord patients are struggling to cope with the emotional and physical uncertainties that come with a life-changing illness or injury.” She added, “He makes it his personal goal to give each individual a moment of levity and encouragement to brighten their day. He has a special knack for making the patient he is transporting or teaching feel like the most important person at that moment.”

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