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2023 AARP Andrus Award for Community Service Recipient: Bev Cotton

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The AARP New Hampshire Andrus Award for Community Service honors Granite Staters age 50-plus who make a powerful difference in their communities. Winners are nominated by their fellow AARP volunteers and/or the AARP NH Executive Council volunteers. Nominations are evaluated by AARP New Hampshire based on how the volunteer’s work has improved the community, supported AARP’s vision and mission, and inspired other volunteers. The award is named after our founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, an educator and champion of aging.

AARP is proud to recognize Beverly Cotton of Weare, NH, as the 2023 recipient of the Andrus Award for Community Service. 

Beverly Cotton, better known as Bev, spent most of her career in various financial positions. Mainly sticking to university-related jobs, Beverly rose to become Associate Vice President of Student Finance at Southern New Hampshire University, among other jobs, before being diagnosed with cancer. She resigned from the work force, battled through treatment and recovery, and discovered a new path. 

“I learned through my time in being sick that there were a lot of people who needed advocates.” She says, “it really left me with an impression that there’s got to be something we can do here.” 

In 2018, Bev started her volunteer advocacy work with AARP NH’s Capital City Task Force (CCTF), which focuses on legislative issues impacting people 50-plus. Finding her foothold with CCTF, Bev became AARP NH’s liaison for the Stop Rx Greed Prescription Drug Campaign. 

Bev began testifying at legislative sessions, attended weekly team coalition meetings, and ultimately aided in getting bipartisan House Bill 1280 signed- which capped insulin prices and furthered transparency in drug prices. 

“That was one of the things I was most happy about,” said Bev. “It is probably one of my best advocacy experiences to have been involved with.” 

In 2020, Bev added to her AARP volunteer responsibilities by serving as a Volunteer Co-Captain for the presidential primary and general election. Personable but relentless, Bev questioned presidential candidates about social security, prescription drug costs, and more. 

During COVID, Bev became proficient in carrying on her volunteer responsibilities virtually and also took on a leadership role in adopting and using Zoom. 

Additionally, Bev serves as co-lead for the Greater Concord Planning Team. She and her team of volunteers planned community outreach events for AARP members and non-members. This overlaps with her work as a member of AARP NH’s Speaker Bureau, where she gives community presentations about fraud, caregiving, and more. 

Bev’s volunteer reach extends beyond AARP. She is a state ambassador for Congressional District-2 and works closely with the American Cancer Society Action Network. Attending legislative meetings and alongside other volunteers, Bev advocates for funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings, is involved in NH Youth anti-smoking and vaping programs, and writes inspirational letters to patients in hospice care. 

“There’s an excitement that surrounds this work” says Bev of her work with AARP,” there’s just an energy that comes with that. I’m in that very wonderful and unique position to have the level of incredible exposure that we do.” 

Bev has proven herself to be a strong Granite State volunteer and advocate. Since joining the CCTF, Bev has helped pass state law, reduce insulin prices, build relationships with elected officials, and foster friendships with AARP staff and volunteers. 

“When you’re older, you think that you’ve made your friendships and those friends are the ones you have, but there’s a whole lot more friends out there waiting to happen,” reflects Bev. 

She continues to blaze trails at AARP with a passion.

“It’s become who I am,” she says. “you always have a little more capacity than you think you do, and you can always fit one more thing in. This experience has just been a wonderful piece of this that I didn’t expect.” 

A well-deserved congratulations to Bev for her hard work. We are honored to recognize her with the 2023 Andrus Award for Community Service.

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