Virginia Volunteers Honored for Community Service
ALEXANDRIA_ AARP Virginia has presented the Carol Downs of Alexandria with the revered Gordon Morton Award for Volunteer Service.
Through her dedicated work in the community, Carol Downs has improved the quality of life for many older residents in the City of Alexandria and beyond. She was born with the social worker gene implanted in her soul – and a sense of humor that adds some lighter moments to even the toughest situations.
Carol served as chair of At Home in Alexandria, a “village” dedicated to helping people live in their homes for as long as long as possible. This organization is flourishing today with 134 members and it is growing, in part because of her work to help build a strong foundation. . Carol now serves as chair of the Alexandria Commission on Aging, comprised of citizen activists who advise the City Council and advocate on behalf of older Alexandrians, especially low-income citizens. This Commission is remarkably active and Carol is a strong leader whose warmth and commitment inspires its members.
As a member of the Community Caregiving Action Team (CCAT), Carol has been actively engaging our members and the general public in conversations that help to prepare those planning to be a caregiver as well as those who will receive care from a loved one. She has given many of AARP’s Prepare to Care presentations and she also speaks at HomeFit workshops in a manner that is both fun and educational.
Carol has been an excellent mentor for volunteers and, most recently, she has taken new CCAT volunteers under her wing and is mentoring them on the various aspects of AARP outreach. She is a great role model to other volunteers because she takes the initiative – and Carol isn’t shy about asking if she can try something innovative.
When Carol served as a Create the Good Ambassador, she created a partnership among AARP, the City of Alexandria, Senior Services of Alexandria, and At Home in Alexandria. The partnership coordinates communications and defines the services of each organization to prevent duplication of efforts and enhance clarity about the role of each organization. This enables the organizations to complement each other’s work.
The Gordon Morton Award for Volunteer Service was presented at the All-Volunteer Assembly Recognition Awards Banquet in Staunton on November 12, 2015.
The Gordon Morton Award for Volunteer Service recognizes an individual AARP volunteer who has made outstanding contributions to the work of AARP in a manner consistent with the dedication and quality of work modeled by the late Gordon Morton of Virginia Beach.
AARP Virginia also recognized area volunteers with the following awards at the banquet:
Andrus Award for Community Service: The annual Andrus Award for Community Service is AARP’s most prestigious and visible volunteer award. It recognizes individuals who are sharing their experience, talent, and skills to enrich their communities in ways that are consistent with AARP’s mission, vision, and commitment to volunteer service, and that inspire others to volunteer. Only one Virginia volunteer (or couple performing service together) can receive the Award.
Elvira B. Shaw Advocacy Award: The Elvira B. Shaw Advocacy Award was created in 2013 in memory of Elvira Beville Shaw’s outstanding service as an advocate for over 40 years on behalf of AARP Virginia. The annual recipient of this award may be an individual or a team who has demonstrated dedication to AARP’s legislative priorities, effectiveness in advocacy outcomes, and exceeded the call of duty in their willingness to serve.
Chapter Awards: The purpose of the Chapter Awards is to recognize the education, advocacy, and service work of chapters that contribute to achieving AARP’s mission by highlighting outcomes and impact on their communities regardless of Chapter size or demographic. These awards give Chapters the opportunity to showcase their work for countless hours of service devoted to enhancing the experience of aging and AARP’s mission.
President's Awards: The President’s Award for Community Service is given to deserving individuals or groups chosen at the AARP state president’s discretion. Past recipients have included exceptional chapter presidents and community outreach, advocacy and training volunteers who have furthered AARP’s social impact agenda.
Bob Blancato, who has served as AARP Virginia’s state president for three years, is the chief volunteer representing more than one million AARP members in Virginia and an advocate for all Virginians age 50+. He lives in Arlington and is President of Matz, Blancato, & Associates, a full-service firm integrating strategic consulting, government affairs, advocacy services and association and coalition management based in Washington, DC. He is the National Coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.5 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's 40 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.