AARP Eye Center
When AARP Vermont volunteer David Cawley retired five years ago, he suddenly had a lot more time to walk his neighborhood in Burlington. These strolls—along with time spent researching local history—led Cawley to cofound the Old East End Neighborhood Coalition, a community improvement group.
The coalition successfully advocated for bike lanes and pedestrian signals and commissioned a vibrant, 24-foot-long mural depicting a fishing bear and other wildlife in the Winooski River area. The River Dwellers mural sits at Barrett and Chase streets.
For these and other efforts, Cawley, who is in his 70s, has been named AARP Vermont’s winner of the 2023 Andrus Award for Community Service, the organization’s most prestigious state-level award. A former manager of Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Cawley has been an AARP volunteer for the past three years, working on livable community initiatives in Burlington.
“David is excellent at building relationships,” says Kelly Stoddard Poor, AARP Vermont’s associate state director of outreach. His volunteer work demonstrates how one person can impact the vitality of a neighborhood and improve residents’ lives, she says.
Cawley has also worked to spruce up Burlington’s Schmanska Park and to help organize Winterlude, an annual outdoor festival featuring snowshoeing, sledding, nature walks, crafts, refreshments and local music.
The Andrus Award is named after AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus. The award recognizes volunteers who are 50-plus and who make a powerful difference in their communities in alignment with AARP’s mission. To learn more, visit aarp.org/vt.
—Michelle Cerulli McAdams