By Hayley Hervieux
How does a classically-trained scientist transition to focusing on volunteerism and advocacy? Surprisingly well, if the newest member of AARP Texas’ volunteer leader group is any indication.
An immunologist, John Measel spent most of his career teaching medical students before working in administration at the University of Arkansas. In this position, he was a problem-solver. Though it was not part of his official duties, John was urged by the university’s president to use his relationships with legislators to advocate for the school and its students. In addition to his advocacy work, John served on the board of trustees of the National Arthritis Foundation.
“My personal philosophy is that everyone should give something back to their community whether it is through church or volunteering or something else,” says John. “I believe that very firmly.”
When John retired, he and his wife moved to Tyler to be closer to her family there. John found himself with little to do in the way of volunteering and advocacy. He felt that he needed something to occupy his time and his mind. He was kind of bored.
Then John saw an article that said AARP was looking for volunteers. He responded to it, and the rest is history. As part of AARP Texas’ all-volunteer Executive Council, John now works with staff on setting priorities for the organization in Texas. He says that he enjoys the challenge of working with AARP.
“I look at it as something that keeps me busy using the talents god gave me,” says John.
John says that his favorite part of working with AARP is the people. He appreciates the dedicated staff and volunteers who work hard to make the world a better place for older Texans and values the ability to express his opinion.
John’s interests include working on his farm a couple of days a week and fishing. Specifically, he likes to go freshwater fishing and fly fishing. His father worked in agriculture, so John has always been exposed to the natural world--a world which he sees as intimately connected to science.
During his career, John published more than 100 scientific papers. He still does grant reviews for foundations, helping young scientists get the funding to start their careers. He writes scientific reports and one review paper a year.
In addition to his scientific work, John is also working on a series of short stories about growing up in Arkansas. He is fascinated with writing, and he minored in English in college. He found it interesting to study something completely different, though he humbly says he wasn't as good at it.
John also considers volunteering a passion, especially advocating for seniors. He aims to help make the world a better place, he says, one where he can make a lasting difference.
“AARP’s challenges for the decade are immense, but I have great faith that we can meet those challenges,” John says, looking to the future. “We like to believe we are leaving a better place for our kids and grandkids.”
Throughout April, we’re profiling some people that you need to meet in honor of National Volunteer Month. Have you met Art Garza, the veteran turned volunteer? What about Ervin Rees, our latest Andrus award winner?