AARP Kansas honored its 2012 outstanding community service volunteer during a luncheon banquet in Emporia on November 7. Each year, AARP presents its most prestigious award, the Ethel Percy Andrus Award for Community Service, to an individual or individuals who, through volunteer service, significantly enhance the lives of those in their community. This award symbolizes that individuals have the power and ability to make a difference in the lives of others.
The 2012 Andrus Award for Community Service was presented to Kathy O’Mara of Reading. O’Mara is a retired teacher and member of the Emporia Area Retired School Personnel (EARSP) who has been active in her community throughout her life.
“Kathy is well-deserving of the award that honors AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus,” said Ann Garvin, AARP Kansas Interim Volunteer State President who presented the award to O’Mara along with AARP Kansas Director Maren Turner. “Her record of service to her community demonstrates her commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.
O’Mara taught school for 38 years, 32 of which were at Neosho Rapids teaching mostly third grade. She was active in both the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) and the South Lyon County NEA while teaching. She joined the Alpha Delta Kappa international teacher organization in 1974 and is still actively involved as an officer. After retiring from teaching, O’Mara became a member of EARSP where she served as vice-president and then president. She also co-chaired the Community Service Committee and for two years assisted in the planning and implementation of the Lyon County and Kansas spelling bees. In addition, O’Mara is a hospice volunteer, an election board member and is active in her church in numerous roles.
O’Mara was nominated for the Andrus Award by Carolyn Kuhn and Mary Clare White, both members of EARSP. Other nominees for the award were Agnes Bernritter, Topeka; Rita Mae Buehne, Wichita; Pat Crabtree, Shawnee; Mary Ann Flunder, Kansas City, Ruth Hetherington, Bel Aire; and Bernard Neubaurer, Topeka.