In a special ceremony and luncheon on October 28, 2015, AARP Tennessee presented Carolyn Lawhorn with its 2015 AARP Tennessee Andrus Award for Community Service. This honor is the Association’s most prestigious and visible state volunteer award, recognizing people for service which has greatly benefited the community, supporting AARP’s vision and mission, and inspiring others. The award is named for AARP’s founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus.
“Dr. Andrus founded AARP as a social mission organization with a single guiding principle: “to serve, not to be served,” said Rebecca Kelly, AARP Tennessee State Director. “Carolyn Lawhorn is an inspiring example of how each of us can make a difference in our communities and beyond and work together for positive social change.”
A native of Jackson, Tenn., Lawhorn is a fierce advocate of healthy lifestyles for older adults. A retired nurse, she remains dedicated to caring for others. Lawhorn serves, on a volunteer basis, as the parish nurse at Wesley United Methodist Church where she regularly performs free blood pressure checks. She also actively works in support of social security issues, access to care and fraud protection.
“I think it’s important to do what we can to offset the healthcare disparity in rural areas, especially where access is limited and the cost is so high,” Lawhorn said.
Lawhorn feels it’s important to lead by example. She currently leads an aerobics class for older adults, serves as a mentor for nursing students through Jackson Area Minority Mentor Nurses and often visits nursing homes in the community to spend time with residents.
In honor of Lawhorn, AARP has made a $3,000 donation to the Lupus Foundation, an organization close to her heart. After being diagnosed with Lupus, Lawhorn found no support group in the Jackson area, so she immediately took steps to create one.
“I went online and was able to connect with folks to learn more about this disease and start a support group in Jackson,” she said. “The more I learn, the more I am able to help others who are living with Lupus.”
Her record of achievement, service and commitment provides an extraordinary example of the difference that volunteerism can make in the lives of individuals and in the well-being and vitality of a community.
Recipients across the nation were chosen for their ability to enhance the lives of AARP members and prospective members, improve the community in or for which the work was performed, and inspire others to volunteer.
“Being recognized by AARP with the Andrus Award is a proud moment because our founder set such a high standard for service,” Lawhorn added. “To win an award that bears the name of Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus is such an honor.”