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AARP Virginia Awards Don Creamer of Blacksburg with the Distinguished Andrus Award

MELODY ROBBINS 434.214.0382


MELODY ROBBINS 434.214.0382

AARP Virginia has presented Don Creamer of Blacksburg with the highly distinguished Andrus Award for Community Service, and honored volunteers from across the state for their dedication to enhancing the quality of life for all as we age.

AARP Virginia held its annual All-Volunteer Assembly in Richmond on Dec. 1, where volunteers were lauded at a banquet. The All-Volunteer Assembly honors AARP Virginia’s most dedicated volunteers. AARP Virginia volunteers provide outreach and advocacy for more than 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.

The Beard Center on Aging at Lynchburg College received the Community Partner of the Year Award and AARP Blacksburg Chapter #2613 received the Chapter Award.

AARP’s commitment to volunteer service can be traced back to its founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, whose motto “to serve, not to be served” has shaped our community service efforts at the national, state, and local levels. Each year, AARP honors the legacy of Dr. Andrus with the AARP Virginia 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.

The 2016 Andrus Award winner, Don Creamer, is President of AARP Blacksburg Chapter #2613.

“Don demonstrates that we are stronger when we work together,” said Bob Blancato, AARP national board member and former AARP Virginia state president.

The AARP Blacksburg chapter under his leadership has working relationships with AARP Virginia, The Community Foundation of the New River Valley, the New River Valley Agency on Aging, the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech, the Lifelong Learning Institute at Virginia Tech, The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Warm Hearth Retirement Village, Virginia Tech Retirees Association, and the YMCA at Virginia Tech.

“As a result of these partnerships, the AARP Blacksburg Chapter has been able to carry out initiatives that would never have been possible without the involvement of other organizations who bring their ideas and resources to the table,” Blancato said.

The Community Partner of the Year Award recognizes an organization or agency that has made outstanding contributions to the work of AARP by collaborating with AARP volunteers and staff to enhance the quality of life for members of the community. The 2016 Community Partner of the Year is the Beard Center on Aging at Lynchburg College. Named in honor of Lynchburg College alumna and gerontologist Belle Boone Beard, the Center strives to promote positive aging through intergenerational activities, educational programs, information and referral services, and professional training. The Center also hosts one of Virginia’s largest annual geriatric conferences and provides leadership for Region 2000’s ninety-member Consortium on Aging.

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. The 2016 awards recognized AARP Blacksburg Chapter #2613 headed by Creamer, and AARP Richmond North Chapter #5356, whose president is Oscar Covington.

Keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Bob Holsworth, political analyst and managing principal of Virginia Tomorrow LLC.

More than 100 volunteers participated in the awards event, where they met new AARP Virginia State President Melvin Evans of Windsor, who assumes the role on Dec. 2.  Evans takes over from Bill Lukhard of Richmond, who served as interim state president for six months after Blancato joined the national board.

AARP Virginia also recognized volunteers with the following awards at the banquet:
Gordon Morton Award : The Gordon Morton Award is given to 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 Gordon Morton, an AARP volunteer who passed away in 2002. Denise Coates of Herndon is the 2016 recipient of the Gordon Morton Award for Volunteer Service. Coates serves as a Community Ambassador, Congressional District Liaison, and is a co-lead of the Northern Virginia New Volunteer Orientation team with Carol Downs and Pat Killeen. She is also a member of the Capitol Hill Strike Force Team and participated as a volunteer Ambassador in the 2016 Take a Stand campaign for Social Security.

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. AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau presented the 2016 awards to three AARP volunteers. Warren Stewart of Norfolk served as AARP Virginia State President from 2007-2012 and was an AARP Virginia volunteer for seven years prior to his term. Bob Blancato of Arlington succeeded him as State President from 2013-2016. In June 2016, Blancato was appointed to AARP's National Board of Directors, leaving his State President position vacant. Bill Lukhard of Richmond, a long-time AARP Virginia volunteer, Executive Council member, and recipient of the 2008 Andrus Award for Community Service graciously stepped in as Interim State President for the remaining months of 2016.

“We thank all of these gentleman for their tireless commitment and service to AARP's mission and vision and congratulate them on receiving this award,” Dau said.

AARP Virginia has more than 1 million members in the commonwealth, with a volunteer corps that provide outreach, education, and advocacy across the state. Learn more about AARP in your community by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @AARPVa.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit  or follow @aarp and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.


MELODY ROBBINS 434.214.0382

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