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AARP Montana Announces 2019 Winner of its most Prestigious Volunteer Award

Don Redfoot selected as recipient of AARP Andrus Award for Community Service

AARP Andrus Award Winner Don Redfoot

AARP Montana announced that Don Redfoot of Red Lodge was selected to receive the 2019 Andrus Award for Community Service, the Association’s most prestigious volunteer award. Each year AARP honors the legacy of AARP founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, with the AARP Andrus Award for Community Service. This award is a symbol of the power of individuals to make a difference in the lives of others. The award was formally presented to Redfoot at a recent ceremony in Helena.

In congratulating Don, Montana State Director Tim Summers said “Don Redfoot has always recognized the important role volunteers play in making things better for society. It’s a pleasure to present this honor to Don, a person who has given of himself to make an important difference in the lives of others.”

“Don Redfoot has made a difference for so many, not only in Red Lodge, but throughout Montana,” said AARP Montana State President, Al Ward who nominated Redfoot for the Andrus Award. “He has been a tireless advocate fighting for livable communities in Montana and he inspires others by his generosity, his spirit, and his energy. I wish him warmest congratulations and thanks on behalf of AARP Montana.”

The depth of Don’s service to fight for Livable Communities in Montana is an extraordinary example of volunteerism. Don Redfoot and his wife Kathy Kenyon retired to Red Lodge where they could help care for Kathy’s parents, both of whom were experiencing advancing dementia, in a home they had built and a community that they loved.

Shortly after their move to Red Lodge, the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation Director asked Don and Kathy to help establish a steering committee to work on ways to address the unmet needs of Carbon County’s aging population. The first fruit of that endeavor was a community forum hosted by the Foundation where Don made a presentation introducing the attributes of Age-Friendly Communities and Kathy made a more personal presentation on her journey as a family caregiver. Don was eventually asked to join the Board of the Foundation to give voice to these issues.

Don and others in the Foundation focused on the Age-Friendly Communities program and were successful in joining the nationwide AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities in 2018. Carbon County is the only county in Montana to join the network and is one of only two Age-Friendly communities in the entire state of Montana. They are committed to providing a community where people of all ages and abilities can live and thrive. Don and the Foundation subsequently worked with the Montana Department of Transportation to secure a grant to develop a five-year plan to initiate transportation services throughout Carbon County.

Don responded to a need in his community and worked with neighbors and other community members to make a real difference in the lives of the citizens of Red Lodge and in Carbon County.

“AARP Montana takes great pride in congratulating Don Redfoot on all that he’s done for individuals, for Montana, and for society. Don Redfoot is a proven advocate and leader with an impressive record of achievement that has impacted not just older Montanans, but residents of all ages," said Summers. "I am thrilled that Don was selected to receive this prestigious award – he serves as a fitting tribute to the legacy of Ethel Percy Andrus’ motto – ‘to serve and not to be served’.”

Don Redfoot was nominated by Al Ward on behalf of the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation. As part of the award, AARP Montana has donated $1000 in Don Redfoot’s name to the Foundation in support of their mission to build a thriving community through stewardship, collaboration, and innovation.


Also at the event, special awards were presented to the following 22 Montanans:

  • Lana Shura, Kalispell -- Montana Retired Educators Association Volunteer of the Year
  • Patricia Waylett, Missoula -- Montana Retired Educators Association Volunteer of the Year
  • Amanda Hodges, Missoula -- AARP Driver Safety Program Outstanding Volunteer
  • Fran Viereck, Helena -- AARP Montana Service Award: Advocacy
  • Alex Ward, Billings -- AARP Montana Service Award: Communications
  • Debbie Lane, Helena -- AARP Montana Service Award: Community Engagement
  • Barb Arthur, Helena -- AARP Montana Service Award: Helena Community Action Team
  • Kathleen Henson, Helena – AARP Montana Service Award: Helena Community Action Team
  • Rich Nason, Helena -- AARP Montana Service Award: Veterans Community Outreach
  • Representative Ed Buttrey, Great Falls -- AARP Montana Legislative Award: Capitol Caregiver Award
  • Representative Mary Caffero, Helena -- AARP Montana Legislative Award: Capitol Caregiver Award
  • Senator Mary McNally, Billings – AARP Montana Legislative Award: Rx Price Fighter Award
  • Linda and Allen Erickson, the North West Montana Veterans Pantry & Stand Down, Kalispell -- Community Partner Award
  • Nancy Elkins, Missoula -- AARP Montana Caregiver Award
  • Mary Brown, Billings -- AARP Montana Innovation Award
  • Judy Allen, Missoula – Andrus Award Finalist
  • Jan and Bob Beekman, Ennis -- Andrus Award Finalist
  • Dee Gannon, Townsend -- Andrus Award Finalist
  • Alice Harris, Kalispell – Andrus Award Finalist
  • Roseva Guest, Canyon Creek -- Andrus Award Finalist

“AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions AARP volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve. It’s a pleasure to present these awards to so many wonderful volunteers who have made an important difference in the lives of others,” concluded Summers.

AARP’s commitment to volunteer service can be traced back to the life and vision of founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus. From the beginning, her motto, “To serve, not to be served,” has shaped AARP’s community service efforts at the national, state and local levels. Andrus Award winners are nominated by their peers and the award recipient is chosen by a special committee of AARP Montana volunteer leaders.

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