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Making Ethel proud: Lander couple granted AARP founder's namesake award

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Barbara (Barb) and Charles (Charlie) Smith of Lander were selected by AARP to receive the 2014 AARP Wyoming Andrus Award for Community Service — the Association’s most prestigious and visible state volunteer award.

Named for AARP founder, Ethel Percy Andrus, the award recognizes outstanding individuals who are making a powerful difference in their communities in ways that advance AARP’s mission, vision, and commitment to volunteer service and that inspire others to volunteer.

The Smiths were selected for their extensive community service which has greatly benefited communities in Fremont County and inspired other volunteers.

They have been volunteers with AARP for 12 years. Charlie started out with AARP as an Executive Council member and Barb was the AARP Lander Chapter president for years. After Charlie finished his term on the Executive Council, he continued to serve as AARP Wyoming national issues spokesperson, Divided We Fail campaign volunteer leader, Lander community volunteer and, most recently, on AARP’s national Volunteer Leader Institute representative.

In Charlie and Barb’s spare time outside of AARP, they were full-time caregivers to Barb’s mother for more than eight years.

Barb also volunteers with the local hospital auxiliary and is part of its leadership team, and she volunteers at the Lander Food Bank.

Among their many efforts, they helped organize a Lander Community Cleanup, Blizzard Box, and Drive to End Hunger efforts.

They exemplify AARP’s mission and share that mission at the local level too. Their personal mission has always been about helping people in their local community to age with dignity and purpose, well before they volunteered for AARP.

Whether it was helping with “Blizzard Boxes” delivered to stranded seniors via snowmobile during Lander’s notorious snow storms or helping stop local scam artists, they put the community first.

The breadth and depth of what their efforts throughout the last decade speaks highly of their achievements.
Barb and Charlie are not afraid to think outside of the box and are into community service for the long haul.
Charlie also served as a volunteer board member, now chairman, for his local Credit Union and was reappointed as the Governor-appointed consumer representative to the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy.

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