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Hayworth Receives AARP Wyoming’s Andrus Award Winner for 2023

Judy Hayworth - Andrus Award Winner
AARP Wyoming

Sheridan’s Judy Hayworth was honored with the 2023 Andrus Award for Wyoming during a banquet in Casper on Oct. 11. The award honors the state’s top volunteer over the age of 50.

Hayworth won the award through a vote on AARP Wyoming’s Facebook page, and the AARP Wyoming email distribution list. In total, Hayworth received over 760 votes, beating her closest competition by over 400 votes.

A Return Home Leads To A Volunteer Career
Hayworth is a Sheridan native and grew up under the name of Judy Workman. A 1963 graduate of Sheridan High School and former member of the Eager Beavers 4-H club (made up of kids from the Beaver Creek Road area), Workman spent two years at Sheridan College before transferring to Western Montana College of Education in 1965.

Hayworth was a teacher in Montana for 34 years, teaching fourth grade, fifth grade, Gifted and Talented Programs, and a transitional program for children between kindergarten and first grade. While teaching, she also volunteered as a scout and 4-H leader in Forsyth and Coal Strip, Montana.

She and her husband, Michael J. Hayworth, a former engineer, were married for 51 and one-half years. They retired within a day of each other in the summer of 2007 and moved back to Sheridan. Soon after, Judy was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. She said when she was finished with her treatments, she had a strong interest in giving back to the Sheridan County area. Almost immediately, she began working at Sheridan Memorial Hospital in the surgical waiting room and as a part of the Court Appointed Special Advocates. She later volunteered at The Sheridan Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, The Hub on Smith, and AARP’s Sheridan Community Action Team.

As a volunteer for CASA, Hayworth is assigned to work with children from the time they enter the legal system until they are, hopefully, reunited with their families. That means being a friend, a lunch partner, a sports fan and a source of strength.

“With those children, you help them through that situation they are in, any way you can,” Hayworth says. “I also quite often take lunch to school and have lunch with the children. I try to keep up with everything that is coming up with them. I attend things like their dance recitals or basketball games, or extracurricular things. I try to support them in that way.”

As a part of the Sheridan Memorial Hospital’s Auxiliary, she helped decorate 18 Christmas trees located at the hospital, as well as medical clinics; helped with mailings for the hospital, such as Christmas cards; and helps plan the annual five year old birthday party. As a volunteer in the Sheridan Memorial Hospital’s surgical waiting room, she gets coffee, makes calls on behalf of the families at the hospitals, and even brings goodies.

“I love that job because I really feel like I am helping people,” Hayworth says. “It is such a hard time for many to have a loved one going into surgery. Sometimes, there are a lot of tears. If I can be their comfort and help them in some small way, I want to do that.”

After her husband, Michael, passed away in 2018, Judy went to Sheridan’s Senior Center, The Hub on Smith, and asked to volunteer. She has since been a familiar face in the dining room at least once a week, where she works the room, helping to get drinks, carry trays, and be a warm greeter for the patrons.

“I think social interaction is so important for seniors,” Judy says. “During the pandemic, we had to close down the Hub, and I really saw deterioration in folks. I think it is important to talk to every single person every single day you are there. We are made to interact with each other. I just love the friendships I have been able to make there.”

Carmen Rideout is the executive director for The Hub. She says Hayworth';s warm and friendly personality and beautiful smile brighten people's day.

"Her warm and friendly personality and beautiful smile brighten people's day," says Rideout. "The whole dining room erupted in cheers when we announced she was the recipient of this award. We are grateful she is a part of our lives. Thank you Judy for making our community a wonderful place to live."

Hayworth jokes that she decided to volunteer at the Wyo Theater in 2018 because she liked the shows and thought if she helped out, she could see the shows for free. Over the past five years, she has been an usher, a ticket taker, and a cleaner of the theater. Along the way, she has seen her first opera (she liked it) and has come to enjoy the familiar faces of the season ticket holders.

Hayworth has three children: Michael B. Hayworth, a judge in Miles City, Mont.; Matthew Hayworth, who translates instructions and owners manuals for luxury car companies and wind turbine manufacturers from German to English; and a daughter, Heidi of Billings, who is a nationwide trainer for Wells-Fargo.

For now, Hayworth plans to continue her volunteer work. Her bout with colon cancer and more haven’t slowed her down. She says she has a lot of energy and still enjoys volunteering it all keeps her very humble.

“As I processed it (the Andrus Award), I just felt like there are so many people who are such good volunteers, and I felt so singled out that I got to be the one they honored. “I loved it after I thought about it for a while.”

About AARP Wyoming’s Andrus Award Finalists
Sandra Kovach of Cheyenne has been part of Cheyenne’s AARP community team since 1986. A former treasurer of the Cheyenne afternoon community group, she helped organize meetings at the Laramie County Library, balanced the books, and sent in required reports to the AARP national office. More recently, Kovach has carved out a niche in helping to call community members to let them know when the group is meeting and connecting to members. Kovach even provides refreshments for community group meetings and is a constant presence at AARP events in Cheyenne, such as picnics, movies, and fraud prevention presentations.

Scott Veatch of Casper’s volunteer service came from personal hardship. After his wife, Mona, was diagnosed with dementia in 2007, Veatch decided to blog what would be his family’s 14-year battle with dementia. The blog, called “I’m Going to Courage,” documented what it was to bear witness to Mona’s decline to the point where he decided he was unable to care for Mona on his own and had to find skilled nursing home care.

Veatch also serves on Mountain-Pacific Quality Health’s Patient and Family Advisory Council, where he uses his personal and professional experience in health care to offer support and appreciation for healthcare professionals as well as the manner in which patients are cared for. Through his work on the Patient and Family Advisory Council, Veatch helped develop The #KindnessRX Campaign, which sought to provide hope and positivity to healthcare professionals during the pandemic. Veatch helped launch the campaign, develop its logo, and even appeared in the first two videos in which he thanked the director of environmental services, and a certified nursing assistant (CNA) from the facility in which his wife received care.

ABOUT AARP
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