AARP Maryland is honoring exceptional Marylanders aged 50-plus for their volunteerism and commitment to service. The awards were formally presented October 7 before nearly 80 guests at a virtual ceremony.
“This year’s honorees set the highest example of what can be achieved when all work together for positive social change,” says AARP Maryland State Director Hank Greenberg. “AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers make to their communities, neighbors and the programs they serve.”
2021 Andrus Award for Community Service
Sanjay Srivastava of Ellicott City is president of the Indian Cultural Association (ICA), an organization dedicated to celebrating Indian culture and bringing the diverse communities of Howard County together. ICA is engaged in public service directed toward the most vulnerable in the community, including seniors and youth. ICA organizes health fairs, mental health awareness events, senior socials, hunger drives and other community activities. Srivastava reports that ICA has distributed over 2 million pounds of food to struggling families in the community.
ICA continues to develop programs to end systemic hunger in Howard County. Earlier this year under Srivastava’s leadership, ICA received a $10,000 AARP Community Challenge Grant to build and stock 5 Free Little Pantries to provide food and essentials in low-income neighborhoods.
ICA has quickly become one of the region’s largest cultural organizations, with over 9,600 Facebook followers, and more than 30,000 members. Throughout his career, Srivastava has been involved in private industry and served as president and board member of multiple corporations.
In addition to his work with ICA, Srivastava serves on the boards of nonprofits that are involved in mitigating hunger in Howard County and throughout Maryland, including FeedHoco and Vedic Farm. In addition to combating food insecurity, Srivastava works to advance racial equity in the community. He serves on various racial equity task forces sponsored by the Howard County Council, Howard County Library System and Asian American Pacific Islander workgroups.
Please join us in congratulating Sanjay Srivastava!
AARP Maryland State President’s Award
Gunnery Sgt. (Ret) Curtis "Gunny" Jones of Annapolis is a U.S. Marine Corps retiree who has dedicated himself to ensuring that veterans and their families enjoy the full array of Veterans Administration benefits that they have earned through their service. As a 100% disabled veteran, Jones knows from experience how to submit claims correctly and what supporting documentation is needed.
Through word-of-mouth and the many veterans' organizations where he serves, Jones connects with veterans across the state and across the country to help them navigate the bureaucracy. The veterans are often seniors (sometimes widows of veterans) needing to repair their homes after damage caused by plumbing problems, or add ramps for wheelchairs, or require medical treatment, and are qualified for Veterans Affairs benefits but do not know how to submit a claim.
“Gunny is totally committed to Veterans,” said John Church of Davidsonville, who shared Jones’ story with AARP Maryland. “If he learns that a Veteran needs help, you can be assured that Gunny will be there to help day or night.”
Jones is an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fleet Reserve Association, Disabled American Veterans, and the American Legion Cook-Pinkney Post 141, where he serves as post commander. He is involved with the NAACP for Anne Arundel County, the Chesapeake Veterans Alliance, the Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System (Baltimore), and the National Veterans Intermediary.
Please join us in thanking Gunny for his continued service to our country.
At the Andrus Awards Ceremony, AARP Maryland honored lawmakers and volunteers for their exceptional service to the 50+ community.
AARP Maryland Legislators of the Year
Sen. Melony Griffith for her leadership on legislation addressing telehealth and health disparities and Del. Maggie McIntosh for her leadership on legislation addressing the cognitive and behavioral health of older Marylanders.
Karen Kalla of Rockville, for her leadership communicating AARP's priorities to volunteer advocates and state lawmakers.
Karen Morgan of Upper Marlboro for her outreach and education on fraud prevention and elder financial abuse.
Gary Scher Advocacy Award
Laurel Peltier of Towson for her advocacy and education on predatory thrid party energy suppliers.
Charlesetta Griffin of Suitland, for her service to her chapter members and volunteer advocacy.
With 860,000 members in Maryland, AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media