Marlys Hlavinka of Mayville will be presented with the 2017 AARP Andrus Award for Community Service during a volunteer recognition luncheon Oct. 12 in Fargo.
The Andrus Award is AARP’s most prestigious and visible volunteer award for community service and symbolizes that individuals have the power and ability to make a difference in the lives of others. The award is given to one North Dakotan annually.
Other 2017 Andrus Award nominees who will be recognized at the luncheon are Kim Azure, Rolette; Cleo and Joan Boschee, Wishek; Yvonne and David Dahlgren, Lisbon; James Delzer, Ashley; Bill Willis, Bismarck; and Carla Wolf, Center.
AARP North Dakota selected Hlavinka for her significant volunteer service in the community, especially for her leadership in creating Mayville’s Caring Club in 1993.
The Caring Club is a group of individuals who meet every Thursday morning at Sanford Medical Center in Mayville to convert used greeting cards into reusable cards.
What started with just a few members has become a nonprofit organization with more than 40 people who have raised more than $100,000 for the Mayville hospital. In addition to the greeting cards, the group creates and sells other items at its store in the hospital.
Hlavinka came up with the idea for making cards as she sat in the hospital with her mother and greeting cards kept pouring in. She thought they were too beautiful to throw away, so she began to make them useful again. She invited a few friends to help, and the Caring Club was born.
“The Caring Club concept demonstrates how leadership and volunteerism can be directed to support worthwhile causes,” said former Mayville residents Mike and Marilyn Worner, who now live in Fargo and nominated Hlavinka for the award. “A meaningful project was created to support the unmet needs of a local medical center. The process used by Mrs. Hlavinka enabled volunteers to become a part of the project while also meeting their social needs.”
The Caring Club has contributed to the health and welfare of the Mayville-Portland communities by providing the hospital with funds to acquire equipment it would otherwise not have been able to purchase.
The club has inspired many people to volunteer over the past 24 years. Several of the original volunteers continue to be active in the club.
Hlavinka, who is a native of Mayville, has served the community in many other volunteer positions as well.
As the award winner, Hlavinka has chosen the Mayville Sanford Hospital Caring Club to receive a $500 contribution from AARP in her name.