AARP Kentucky celebrates and recognizes two local volunteers for their dedication and commitment to community service.
Gerry Harrah of Louisville has been selected by AARP, the nonprofit organization for people 50 and older, to receive the 2021 AARP Kentucky Andrus Award for Community Service, the Association’s most prestigious and visible state volunteer award for community service.
"Many thanks to AARP Kentucky for selecting God's Designs to be the 2021 recipient of the Andrus Award. I am very humbled by it all as there are so many people, organizations and nonprofits that are doing amazing things to serve the community. This became even more evident when seeing all the deserving nominees yesterday. I am extremely grateful to AARP for receiving such an honor. The donation of $2,000 is appreciated by all here at God's Designs and you can be assured that it will be put to good use for all those we seek to help," said Harrah during an award ceremony with AARP Kentucky.
The state office selected Gerry Harrah for her remarkable service, which has greatly benefited her community, reflected AARP’s vision and mission, and inspired other volunteers. Gerry Harrah founded the Louisville non-profit organization God’s Designs, Inc. with a mission to enrich lives by “Making a House a Home.” Gerry is a retired interior designer, currently in her 80s, and works tirelessly every day to furnish homes for community members in need. God’s Designs collects donated furniture, puts together various items for the home, sends the tenant away for the day, and gives the home an extreme makeover. Many Louisvillians served by Gerry and God’s Designs, Inc. volunteers are families, veterans, and individuals who have experienced homelessness.
According to Debbie Bannon, who nominated Gerry, “She has inspired me and the many volunteers that serve with us, to use the talents we have to better the lives of others. It is so rewarding to see the looks on the faces and somehow feel a little of what they feel when they see the empty living space turned into a comfortable attractive place to live.” God’s Designs, Inc. received a $2,000 donation from AARP to support their outreach and mission.
“This award acts as a symbol to the public that we can all work together for positive social change,” says volunteer AARP Kentucky State President Charlotte Whittaker. “AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve.”
Joan Webb, of Lexington, was selected as Kentucky's 2021 Andrus Award runner-up. Joan is a dedicated volunteer sharing her experience and talents with Bluegrass Care Navigators. Early in the pandemic, Joan dedicated hundreds of hours creating over 1,000 handmade cards for hospice patients, making face masks and has provided companionship and meaningfully impacted the end-of-life experience for 184 hospice patients. According to Melanie Hagan, who nominated her, “Joan bravely meets patients where they are in their terminal condition and guides them through the process. We could go on and on about Joan’s caring ways. Joan embodies the Dalai Lama quote that says, ‘Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.’ Joan Webb is the Bluegrass Care Navigator's pebble.” Bluegrass Care Navigators received a $500 donation on her behalf.
Recipients across the nation are chosen annually for their ability to enhance the lives of AARP members and prospective members, improve the community in or for which the work was performed, and inspire others to volunteer.