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AARP Volunteers Rewarded at Annual Awards Celebration

Corazon Sandoval Foley of Fairfax County is the 2020 Andrus Award winner.

AARP volunteers were awarded for their exemplary efforts at the 2020 AARP Virginia Awards Celebration. Devoted to honoring AARP Virginia’s most dedicated volunteers, this year’s awards highlighted individuals committed to community service and helping everyone age with dignity and purpose.

The highly distinguished Andrus Award for Volunteer Service – AARP’s most prestigious award -- was awarded to Corazon Sandoval Foley of Fairfax County. Foley is a dedicated volunteer community organizer whose unwavering advocacy in support of older adults directly contributed to the creation of the Fairfax County Burke/West Springfield Senior Center Without Walls (CWOW). A testament to its success, the National Association of Counties and the Environmental Protection Agency has recognized CWOW with National Innovation and Best Practices Awards. Recently, Foley led the development and implementation of a virtual platform which provides the community with up to date resources, information, and connections to services specifically in support of older adults experiencing anxiety and social isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

AARP Virginia last year created the Shawna Newcombe Award for Fighting Hunger to honor and memorialize Shawna Newcombe’s commitment to both empowering volunteers and putting food on the table for those who need it most. The Shawna Newcombe Award for Fighting Hunger recognizes the extraordinary service of an individual or group in the fight against older adult hunger on behalf of AARP Virginia. The 2020 winner of the Shawna Newcombe Award for Fighting Hunger is Judy Dickerson of Roanoke. Dickerson has worked tirelessly to help feed hungry families in her community by leading and promoting various food collection initiatives, including the Grocery Store Challenge and Soup for Seniors. Dickerson has been instrumental to the efforts of the Retired Teachers Association, local schools and churches, and the Local Office on Aging. With Dickerson’s support, Soup for Seniors has been able to distribute thousands of bags of food to older adults in need.

The Community Partner of the Year Award recognizes an organization or agency that has made outstanding contributions to the work of AARP Virginia by collaborating with AARP volunteers and staff to enhance the quality of life for members of the community. The 2020 Community Partner of the Year Award winner is Southwest Virginia Legal Aid. The organization has teamed with AARP Virginia this year on several initiatives, including regional elder abuse councils and an annual conference which trains individuals to recognize and fight elder abuse and financial exploitation.

This year’s President’s Award for Community Service winners are Donald J. Harmon of Annandale, Martin P. Bailey of Woodbridge, and Mary Ann Bankston Kofron of Fredericksburg. The President’s Awards for Community Service are given to deserving individuals or groups chosen at the discretion of the AARP State President, Joyce Williams, to recognize the significant contributions they have made to the work of AARP Virginia over the last year.

The Gordon Morton Award for Volunteer Service is given to an AARP volunteer who has made outstanding contributions to the work of AARP consistent with the work modeled by Gordon Morton. This year’s recipient is Jerry Niles of Blacksburg. Niles played a prominent role helping to launch Virginia Tech’s Lifelong Learning Institute, a member-driven, volunteer organization that provides intellectual, cultural, and social experiences for adults 50 and older, and since then he has remained deeply involved in its operations through volunteering, teaching, and designing programming. Niles has served as President and Board member of AARP’s Blacksburg Chapter, and last year was recognized by the Rotary Club of Christiansburg-Blacksburg as its Citizen of the Year.

The Elvira B. Shaw Advocacy Award is given to volunteer who performed outstanding service as an advocate on behalf of AARP Virginia while demonstrating dedication, high standards, integrity, and effectiveness in outcomes. This year’s recipient is Gwendolyn S. Ingram of Richmond. Ingram played an active role engaging elected officials on issues important to Virginia’s older adults, including lowering prescription drug prices and increasing funding for long term care facilities. Prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Ingram helped bring awareness of the issues directly to her community by presenting at local libraries, associations, and senior centers. Ingram serves as Secretary for AARP Chapter 5356 and on the board of the Virginia Coalition for the Protection of Elder Abuse.

The Rookie of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the work of AARP Virginia in their first year of volunteer service to the organization. This year’s recipient is Lisa M. Moose of Blacksburg. Moose has been an active member, and later board member of the AARP Blacksburg Chapter, and this year joined AARP Virginia’s volunteer team as a Community Ambassador. Moose has worked closely with staff and volunteers to develop and facilitate use of a tool for tracking all official and sponsored AARP Virginia events. Her innovation and collaboration have been invaluable, and have contributed to the successful delivery of hundreds of statewide programs and events.

The Chapter Awards are meant to recognize the education, advocacy, and service work of chapters that contributes to achieving the AARP mission by highlighting outcomes and impacts on their communities regardless of the chapters’ size or demographic. These awards gives chapters the opportunity to highlight their countless hours of work devoted to the enhancing the experience of aging. The recipient of the 2020 Chapter Service Award is Richmond North Chapter 5356. Guided by the motto “to serve and not to be served,” Richmond North’s members work in countless ways to enhance the lives of older adults in their community. They volunteer their time and provide monetary donations as well as donations of goods and food to local charities, food banks, and medical and community centers, which ultimately have helped to support veterans, individuals experiencing health challenges, and residents of nursing homes.

The recipient of the 2020 Chapter Advocacy Award is Blacksburg Chapter 2613. In tandem with AARP Virginia, Blacksburg Chapter members have worked tirelessly in support of fair redistricting efforts in Virginia. Their activities this year included appealing directly to legislators, engaging fellow AARP chapters, and performing media and voter outreach, all of which were based on Blacksburg Chapter members’ fierce commitment to achieving fair political representation for all Virginians.

The AARP Virginia Awards celebration was held virtually on Nov. 18, due to the worldwide pandemic. The awards honor AARP Virginia’s most dedicated volunteers. AARP Virginia volunteers provide outreach and advocacy for nearly one million AARP members in Virginia as well as all Virginians age 50+, and are committed to community service and helping everyone age with dignity and purpose.

To learn more about what AARP Virginia is doing in the community, visit our website, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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